Birmingham NEC bosses are pinning their hopes on a £90 million supercasino – after they posted losses of £12 million for the last year.
The NEC group unveiled operating profits of £24.1 million for the year to March 31 but interest payments on 25-year loans for building work on the ICC and NIA brought a deficit of £12.3 million.
Chief operating officer John Hornby said cost-cutting, including 82 redundancies across the group, would help underpin the NEC’s future – with plans for a large casino still on track.
The casino would bring around 1,000 jobs to the site, raising hopes of a further influx of visitors to boost the 3.9 million total attracted across the NEC group over the last 12 months.
Mr Hornby said Solihull Council had now started the licensing competition for a large casino as the NEC worked in tandem with partners Genting UK to win the complex for the exhibitions complex.
“We are working hard to put our best foot forward with Genting. We need to open up new revenue streams and broaden the appeal of the site and this casino would be a major step in that direction.
“This is a significant complex – it will be much more than gaming, with up to 1,000 full-time jobs. The only show in town for the NEC is Genting – they are the largest UK casino operators – but other people may well pop up across the borough.”
The scheme comprises a casino with 150 slot machines and a maximum jackpot of £4,000, a hotel and spa, bars and restaurants. NEC bosses are pinning their hopes on Solihull Council granting Genting the licence, one of eight new large casinos across the UK.
The NEC group revealed that its exhibition business delivered a profit of £29.6 million, down 27 per cent on the previous year.
Exhibition activity fell, including a limited number of event cancellations, in the wake of the downturn.