Stratford casino creating 400 new jobs in five years

Manager Bea Stevens at Aspers casino in Stratford

Manager Bea Stevens at Aspers casino in Stratford - Credit: Archant

The capital’s biggest casino is set to create about 400 new jobs over the next five years.

Manager Bea Stevens at Aspers casino in Stratford

Manager Bea Stevens at Aspers casino in Stratford - Credit: Archant

Aspers, in Westfield Stratford City, currently employs more than 600 people at the casino – 329 of those from Newham – but is set to increase its workforce by two-thirds.

Opened as the country’s first “Super Casino” in 2011, the venue boasts 150 slot machines, three bars and the largest poker room in the UK.

General manager Bea Stevens, 33, has worked her way up through the industry ranks after starting as a trainee croupier in Newcastle in 2002, following a six-week training school.

After joining Aspers in 2006 and making the move to Stratford for the opening, she now heads up the giant workforce but insists numbers have to grow to keep up with demand.

Aspers casino at Westfield Stratford City

Aspers casino at Westfield Stratford City - Credit: Archant

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“My plan is to continue to move the business forward and ensure Aspers continues to lead the way in the industry, reviewing and adapting the existing product to reflect our customer demand,” she said.

“We currently welcome 35,000 visitors a week and expect this figure to continue to grow year-on-year.

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“Growth will allow us to offer more employment opportunities for Newham.”

There’s big money to be won at the casino with pay-outs on slot machines up to £20,000 – jackpot winners scooped a combined £2.5million during 2015 alone.

“A major slot jackpot is won on average every other day at Aspers,” added Bea.

Roulette players meanwhile could win more than £100,000 on a single spin of the wheel.

But it hasn’t always been plain sailing.

The casino temporarily lost its alcohol licence in September 2014, while nine members of staff, thought to have been involved in an incident in which a punter was allegedly “beaten up”, were sacked in the aftermath.

Huge changes have made in the running of the business since then, and Bea insists the venue is a much safer environment.

“2014 was a difficult period, but since then we have made a number of changes to the business,” she explained.

“This has included an internal review of our security department with advanced training of our in-house officers.

“We brought in a bespoke training scheme, Award Scheme Development and Accreditation Network (ASDAN), which involves assessment of our security officers every six months.

“We have also increased training around responsible service of alcohol, hospitality staff have been trained in Level 1 BIIAB and we have introduced welfare and senior duty managers to provide support to all of our customers and staff around the clock.

“Our staff are our ambassadors and it is important that we create the right environment for our customers through the investment in, and development of, our team.”

A favourite hang-out for many a famous face, the likes of David Hasselhoff and comedian Paul Chowdhry are among the celebrities to have performed at the casino while some of the country’s best poker players have graced Stratford with their game.

The venue played host to some of the nation’s best dealers last month at the National Casino Forum’s UK Dealer Championship, although it’s not just the rich and the talented that have benefited from the casino.

By the end of this year Aspers will have provided grants of half-a-million pounds to local groups such as Fight for Peace, Newham All Star Sports academy and Caritas Anchor House.

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