Victoria Gate Casino
Opening in January 2017, the largest casino in the north of England and Scotland will be located in the heart of Leeds city centre. Victoria Gate Casino is a multi-million pound development and will be the UK’s third largest casino but the North’s first and only ‘super casino’. It is a unique opportunity to build a venue that covers not only gaming but also dining and entertainment, large sporting events as well as corporate hospitality.
As part of the landmark Victoria Gate development, the casino will be one of the city’s biggest entertainment venues once it has opened next year. The Victoria Gate development is an upmarket shopping area and houses the largest John Lewis department store outside of London, which sits next to the new casino. The £15 million casino will occupy around 50,000ft2 at the top of the new Victoria Gate development.
The new casino will be a stylish and exciting entertainment facility that will draw people from all over the country. Global Gaming Ventures, owners of Victoria Gate Casino, was awarded the licence and beat competition from places such as Leeds United FC after council officials decided it would bring a greater benefit to the city providing a major boost to the local economy.
Fuse Studios Limited worked closely with GGV and Hammerson, the building owner, as the architects and interior designers for the project to create a design that will live up to its ‘super casino’ label. Fuse has worked with GGV on the project for five years and work on the original license-winning bid. The phase of Victoria Gate containing the Casino extends the luxury retail area within the city adding to Leeds’ new leading retail, dining and leisure destination.
David Matthews, Director at Fuse, has been leading this project since it began. “We were given a lot of freedom but GGV were looking for a very high quality casino which was aspirational but not too intimidating so it would appeal to as wide a cross section of the market as possible. They want Victoria Gate Casino to be the best casino in the UK,” commented David.
The casino will have the capacity to house 1,400 people within its walls bringing the spirit of the iconic Las Vegas strip to the northern city. “We did a lot of research with GGV, looking at existing casinos, notably in and around Las Vegas such as Red Rock Resort Spa and Casino, and M Resort. These offer high quality venues to local residents rather than just tourists, so they had a lot to teach us,” added David.
As well as the classic casino games, Victoria Gate Casino will have wall-to-wall screens that will be used to display the biggest sports matches happening on TV. Unlike most casinos, guests will be able to walk in and enjoy the restaurant and bars like any other leisure centre adding a new destination to the city’s already great line up.
Due to the size of the casino once it has been completed and opened, it will generate 205 full-time jobs across its various roles which include gaming, waiting and bar staff as well as chefs, cashiers, greeters, security and administrative staff. With such a large amount of staff needed the company has committed to sourcing at least 90% within the region of Leeds city. Whilst providing an influx of jobs, they will also offer apprenticeships and a graduate scheme for those who are interested. Situated within Leeds, the casino, whilst being staffed by people from the city, will attract customers from the region and beyond.
Set over three floors, the casino will boast the biggest poker rooms in the country with room for 150+ guests, 30 live gaming tables, 150 slot machines, around 75 electronic gaming terminals and a function space as well as the restaurant and two bars. The interior design of the super casino is a mix of autumnal shades with copper and bronze tones which are broken up with highlights of purple, turquoise and gold, and these are used to differentiate the areas within the building. “We also used a fair bit of rich, dark hardwood as well as extensive use of fret-cut metals and some unusual use of ceramics,” added David. Included in the design of the casino is external signage at low and high levels on the various elevations of the Victoria Gate development.
“Because of the levels, and a light well to the arcade below that passes right through the centre of the casino, we have designed a unique form of ceiling which has very curvaceous and softly illuminated edges which tells the visitor that there is something they cannot see around the corner. The design’s gentle curves are used to encourage movement and exploration around the space.”
As with most large scale developments, there were issues that David and his team faced when it came to the building of the project. “The biggest challenge was that the venue sits at second floor and is arranged over a number of levels. This is exactly the opposite of what we would usually require, so the challenge was to make the most of it which I think we succeeded in doing. The casino is much more interesting as a result and different parts of it will suit different audiences,” commented David.
“GGV is a relatively new player in the industry but founded and staffed by some of the most experienced people in the industry, so they did not have the usual departments feeding us with requirements and information. As such, a lot of reliance was placed on us – especially in the early stages of the project and we felt a very real sense of responsibility,” added David, “It has been a long haul, and the team at Fuse is really looking forward to finally being able to buy a beer at one of the bars.”
Phelan Construction is a main contractor established in 1987 that specialises in construction, refurbishment and fit out projects within the hospitality and leisure sectors. In its 30 year history Phelan have worked with wide selection of prestigious clients with projects ranging from £250k to £15m and with expertise in both construction and fit-out they offer their clients a truly turnkey package. Phelan offers nationwide coverage with projects reaching as far afield as Newquay, Aberdeen and the Isle of Wight.
Phelan Construction has been working within the casino industry for the past 20 years and has worked with all of the major operators and within largest and most prestigious casinos across the UK. Having only last year delivered a £10m casino fit-out contract they were extremely excited about the prospect of securing the Victoria Gate Super Casino contract with new client Global Gaming Ventures. Now that the project draws to a close Phelan Construction are delighted with how it is has turned out and they are sure that the client and the paying public will be blown away by the quality of this stand out venue.
Phelan Construction takes pride in delivering perfect projects through passionate people and it is to this ongoing ethos that they attribute their success.
Edge Interiors specialise in the supply of bespoke decorative screening, for use within projects in the leisure and hospitality industry. The company has been in operation for 16 years and within this time has worked with an array of prestigious clients including Hilton Hotels, Four Seasons Hotels, Westfield, Royal Opera House, John Lewis Cardiff, Tiger Lily Hotel Edinburg, Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Lounges and Kuoni Travel, amongst others.
Most recently, Edge Interiors has been involved with the Victoria Gate Casino project. On this scheme, Edge Interiors supplied more than 25,000 metres of Medieval Brass steel ShimmerScreen bead chain screens. The screens were hung from bespoke triangular and circular tracks to create 21 dramatic ceiling features – a unique and significant installation of Edge Interiors’ product.
Wayne Limpan of Edge Interiors, said:
“This is a major new venue in Leeds and we are thrilled to have our product be a focal design feature – especially when it is showcased in such an original way.”
“At Edge Interiors we pride ourselves on our innovative high quality products and our attention to detail.”