London has its fair share of casinos but residents in some parts of the city aren’t in the mood to emulate Vegas and have a casino come up near their homes. West London locals aren’t too happy – in fact, some of them are horrified – about a proposal by Genting Casinos to launch a 24-hour Las Vegas-style casino. The casino operator’s target is the Holiday Inn on Cromwell Road, South Kensington, where it plans to build a 30,000 sq. ft. casino on the ground and first floors of the hotel in a bid to accommodate up to 1,500 gamblers each day. Genting UK currently operates 40 gambling venues across the country.
Genting’s plans that are being considered by Kensington and Chelsea council haven’t found favor with its residents who are already plagued with gangs, pimps, and brothels, according to Sabine Huehn, a resident who lives near the proposed site. A casino could only exacerbate those problems, she says. The local Thurloe Residents’ Association also shares the same sentiments and is of the opinion that such a move could be detrimental to those living nearby. A spokesperson for the association said that the residential neighborhood would have to deal with an increase in the number of people and traffic in an otherwise peaceful neighborhood. They are also apprehensive of the prospects of having to encounter unruly elements often associated with gambling establishments.
Another resident and retired psychotherapist, Christine Fremantle, hopes the council would consider its decision carefully. She claims that gambling is a problem as serious as alcohol or drug addiction and a casino close by could spread distress in the neighborhood. The Kensington and Chelsea council is expected to reach a decision in March. According to a spokesman for the council, Genting’s application will be considered according to the rules and regulations of the council. Residents will have the privilege to voice their concerns and raise any objections to council planners.
While residents fear the worst, Genting has stepped in to allay any fears they may have. In a report, the developer claims that the casino’s exemplary architecture would transform the current drab frontage of the building. A spokesman for Genting UK said that the development plans include a high-quality restaurant and bar that would be open to the public. They also promise to ensure that any antisocial elements would not be permitted in the area while nothing would be done to attract such behavior. According to the spokesman, the developer is well experienced in casino operations in residential areas and has stringent measures in place to reduce the potential for disturbances during the night and wee hours. To avoid parking issues, the casino plans to have a valet service.
Both, the residents and Genting UK will have to wait until next month until the council goes through the due process and reach a verdict.