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Report suggests Brits expand gaming

Oct 23, 2001 6:45 AM

Brits love to gamble, whether it be a punter placing a bob on a nag or a James Bond-type challenging a banker at the chemin de fer table.

Now, however, their interest has been piqued by a report that suggests the U.K. expand its gambling to include Las Vegas-styled casinos.

The report, issued last summer by Sir Alan Budd, has recommended widespread deregulation of Britain’s gaming industry to allow the development of slot-machine packed casinos.

Into the limelight steps the recently-publicized London Clubs International (LCI) since the easiest way to get into the casino business would be to acquire an existing company. LCI, which invested more than $100 million in the bankrupt Aladdin Resort Hotel/Casino, could use a partner to help weather the financial problems it faces in Las Vegas.

The Budd report didn’t go unnoticed among major gaming companies. Reportedly interested in developing a presence in Britain are two of the industry’s giants, MGM MIRAGE Inc. (MGG), and Park Place Entertainment Inc. (PPE).

Also said to be eyeing the situation is one of the world’s biggest casino customers, Kerry Packer, the Australian publishing mogul who owns the Crown Casino in Melbourne.

Packer already is pursuing an Internet online gaming operation and is believed to be negotiating with officials in Taiwan for a gaming license.