Three casinos blocked Nottingham based poker club, Dusk till Dawn, from obtaining a casino license at Nottingham Magistrates Court today, on the grounds that there is not enough demand for a card room in the area.
Despite obtaining a Certificate of Consent from the UK Gambling Commission in February, which was also heavily opposed by the Casino industry, the club’s opening will be now delayed further.
Due to the compulsory adjournment of the hearing, caused by objections raised from Gala, Stanley’s and London Clubs International, the case won’t be heard until September 24th 2007.
The project began in April 2005, two years later the doors of the ex Smilin’ Sams’ building, opposite Showcase Cinema’s, are still closed.
Rob Yong, Managing Director at Dusk Till Dawn Ltd, says: “This is a very tough time, we were due to open in November 2006, we’ve had over 3000 applications for membership before the club has even opened, and this is just an attempt by the big boys to bleed us dry.
We have already recruited all of the key staff and the premises are ready, but each month that we are delayed will cost a further £100,000 in wages and running costs. I have never made anyone redundant in my life, and am committed to seeing this through until the end”.
At 21,000 sq ft, Dusk till Dawn would be the biggest poker club in Europe with a capacity to seat 500 players, it would also be the UK’s first legal card room if a license was issued. Mr Yong even wrote to the casinos giving a commitment that Dusk Till Dawn would not operate casinos games such as roulette and blackjack, therefore would not impact on their core activities, but this was unsuccessful.
Mr Yong owns sf group, the Nottingham based financial recruitment company recently voted “35th best UK company” by the Sunday times.
In all of Mr Yong’s businesses, including Dusk Till Dawn, the company, employees and suppliers donate a percentage to a charity set up by Mr. Yong in 2003 for disabled people, the Tishie Yong Foundation, named after his sister who suffers from cerebral palsy.
Born in Nottingham, Mr Yong’s businesses employ over 1000 people, with Dusk Till Dawn creating over 100 jobs in the Nottingham area.
Despite there being overwhelming demand for this poker club, Mr Yong says: “You can never underestimate the power of large corporate companies such as Stanley’s, Gala and London Clubs International.
They have unlimited resources to fight against us and extensive contacts in the industry, I just sincerely hope that Nottingham Magistrates Court does the right thing, especially as two of these casinos have not even opened in Nottingham yet.
To be honest, if the casinos win, I don’t have a back up plan, I don’t want to even consider this happening. We just have to remain positive, and have faith in the court.”