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25th June 2009
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.
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
London-based founder Damian Aspinall yesterday visited
the venue he launched in the city three years ago
and spoke proudly of its achievements.
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.
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.”
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”
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
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.
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.
Aspinall said: “We have helped dispel the myth
about gaming venues. They are no longer viewed as
smoke-filled, seedy gambling dens.
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
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.”
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.
was the nickname of Damian’s father, the late
John Aspinall, who founded the UK’s first gaming
club in 1962.
of our customers are women, compared to just 2% in
the UK’s other casinos.
Casino - Passion, Standards, Finesse.
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.
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
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:
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Man does not represent Aspers
Man does not represent Aspinalls
Man does not represent Damian Aspinall