August 1 2014 Latest news:
Mark Shales, Reporter
Saturday, May 10, 2014
A Stratford casino has become the first in the UK to offer the chance of winning £1million on a single wheel spin.
The record prize on offer in the Spin For a Million competition at Aspers, Westfield Stratford City, will run for six weeks starting this month, with free nightly draws.
An average of 3,500 Londoners visit the casino everyday and owner Damian Aspinall spoke to the Recorder about his personal delight.
“I’m really proud that we’re the first casino business to offer this,” he said. “It’s a really exciting way of communicating with our customers and creates a real buzz, so I’m delighted we’ve pulled it off.
“It’s a chance to change someone’s life and show our customers we’re very progressive and able to do fun things that others wouldn’t.
“If it goes well and the customers enjoy it there’s no reason why we wouldn’t repeat it and maybe even go higher.”
On June 21, the competition’s 20 finalists face 10 knockout rounds to decide who becomes the winner of a guaranteed £25,000 cash prizes and spins for tax-free £1 million in cash.
But with the gambling industry often painted in a negative light, particularly in Newham, Mr Aspinall is keen to distance himself from his competitors.
“Our model is not getting someone in and draining their life savings,” he explained.
“Our average spend is about £30, the equivalent of a cinema ticket and a meal out, so we’re not targeting people and we don’t want to see lots of people lose lots of money.
“We’re heavily regulated and terribly conscious about problem gambling, but all research points the finger at betting shops, not casinos.
“You have to make the effort to come to a casino and people are trained to identify dangerous spending, but you can easily walk past five betting shops in the high street or you just nip online.
“Here the majority of people come for a fun night out – many don’t even gamble.”
Since opening its doors in December 2011, 3.5 million people have visited Aspers, which also boasts more slots jackpots winners than any other UK casino.
Mr Aspinall believes the success is due to a number of factors, including its prime location but also praised the Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales.
He added: “I believe if you deliver a fantastic product, people will come, but the fantastic location, a fantastic mayor and the whole regeneration of the East End are all factors in our success.
“Sir Robin Wales has been a fantastically strong mayor and has been forever pushing Newham to be a better lace with more employment.
“He’s fantastic for the area. I’ve met a lot of politicians up and down the country and he’s one of the best – he’s so dedicated.”