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Damian Aspinall

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Newcastle is the model for successful gaming venture, Peter McCusker -
25th June 2009
(Credit: The Journal)

The boss of one of the country’s biggest casino and leisure chains says its future national growth will be driven from its North East base.

Aspers, the gaming, entertainment and leisure venue in the Gate centre in Newcastle, saw its revenues increase by 50% in the past year as 500,000 people passed through its doors.

Its London-based founder Damian Aspinall yesterday visited the venue he launched in the city three years ago and spoke proudly of its achievements.

“People were sceptical at first that Aspers would work, but we have become the prime provincial gaming brand in the UK. We have created a really strong brand which we are immensely proud of,” he said.

“I had never been to Newcastle before we decided to come here, but it is the perfect location. There is no other city in the UK quite like it. It’s a fun-loving city. It’s unique.”

The fun-loving North Easterners have helped drive the growth of the Aspers brand and it now has venues in Swansea and Northampton, as well as planning permission for a fourth on the “English Riviera” at Bournemouth.

Aspers was created by Mr Aspinall – the former partner of one-time Byker Grove star Donna Air and who is currently said to be dating supermodel Elle MacPherson – and James Packer, the son of maverick Australian broadcaster Kerry Packer. It has been positioned as a multi-entertainment venue and as well as gaming it provides restaurants, bars and live music.

While Mr Aspinall runs his Aspinall Group from London, including Aspers, the Aspinall casino in Mayfair, his property empire and the two wildlife parks left by his father, Aspers senior management are all at the Gate.

In April last year Aspers removed membership requirements and last December it started opening round the clock. Its 500,000 customer figure last year was a rise of 40% on the previous year. On a busy Saturday it can attract 3,000 people, with up to 600 customers at it busiest point, with the average spend being £25.

Mr Aspinall said: “We have helped dispel the myth about gaming venues. They are no longer viewed as smoke-filled, seedy gambling dens.

“One-third of our customers are women, compared to just 2% in the UK’s other casinos. There are a lot of fun things going on and many people who come do not gamble. No one had done it before and no one believed it could work.”

Mr Aspinall outlined why he had chosen the North East to try out the concept. “There were three things we were looking for: a major city, a vibrant city and the right location. Newcastle fitted the bill perfectly and we found the right location at the price.”

Aspers group chief operations officer Richard Noble, based at the Gate, said: “We have become a destination venue and we provide a range of first-class entertainment.” Aspers will not open any more venues until it has visibility out of the recession, but its senior management team at Newcastle will be key players in its development.

Aspers was the nickname of Damian’s father, the late John Aspinall, who founded the UK’s first gaming club in 1962.

One-third of our customers are women, compared to just 2% in the UK’s other casinos.

 

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Aspinalls Casino

Aspinalls Casino - Passion, Standards, Finesse.

Aspinall's is an elite, private gambling club located in Mayfair of London, England. It was established by John Aspinall first in the 1960s and has subsequently changed its name several times along with its location. Aspinall's is currently located at 27-28 Curzon Street.

History

Club founder, John Aspinall (known as "Aspers" to his friends) was a conservationist and breeder of wild animals who funded his zoos, in large part, from house winnings. Aspinall's is still one of the most extravagant and elegant gambling houses in the world. It is not a glitzy casino in the vein of Las Vegas casinos. In its earlier days, Aspinall's clientele comprised the traditional aristocratic elite who gambled away their inheritances. While this is still true to some extent, the gradual decline of the English landed gentry has forced Aspinall's to look elsewhere. The first notable foreign member to be invited to the club was King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. The king became a regular patron of the club, then known as the Clermont.

Remarkably, Aspinall's evaded major public recognition until the 1970s. The notorious Lord Lucan was a close friend of John Aspinall. Lucan's consequent disappearance catapulted the club into mainstream consciousness. Aspinall commissioned a bust of Lucan which remains displayed prominently.

Today

Aspinall's is now run by John Aspinall's son. The current base of clientele includes prominent politicians, businessmen, and the ever-present minority of wealthy aristocrats.

Aspers currently have casinos in Newcastle, Northampton and Swansea. (Credit: Wikipedia).

 

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Aspinalls Online Casino is proud of its solid heritage with good reason. The glamorous Aspinalls brick-and-mortar casino in Mayfair London was established by the late John Aspinall for a select list of clientele in 1962. Now in its fourth decade, it continues to deliver a top tier gaming experience for some of the greatest and most celebrated names in global gaming.

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