Richard Noble is looking forward to when the 2012 London Olympic Games finish, though it’s happening right on the doorstep of his company’s flagship casino.
The chief operating officer of Aspers Group – a joint undertaking between the Aspinall family, which operates Aspers Casino at Westfield Stratford City next to Olympic Park and the Australian Securities Exchange-listed Crown – said that in the first week of the Games, weekly takings and average visitor numbers are down about 20 per cent.
Noble told The Australian Financial Review it was immediately popular when Aspers at Westfield Stratford City, the country’s largest casino, opened on December 1 last year. He said that in their first three days they had 30,000 visitors which were about 100 per cent above their business case. After that they were averaging 25,000-30,000 visitors per week. But in the last few months they have seen the three car parks here at the Westfield get cut down to one and now it is none, so they have been adversely affected.
The London Olympic Games Organizing Committee (LOCOG) has placed restrictions on visitor numbers to Westfield Stratford. These include only Games ticket holders being allowed access to Westfield between 8.30am and 5pm on Friday and Saturday.
Noble said that the ability of regular Aspers patrons to visit the casino has been cut down by this move. He said it also affecting the numbers of people in the local area who could have potentially visited the casino for the first time. Later this year, due to fears about congestion at the mall, which is between Olympic Park and public transport links, LOCOG is also likely to institute another similar “lock-out”.
Noble said Aspers will now concentrate its marketing efforts on the post-Games period as the Olympics not providing the boost in business once hoped. Noble said the casino has a catchment area of 4.1 million people and it concentrates on a high volume of customers who spend relatively little. Overall, Aspers is pleased about how the Stratford business has performed given it has already expanded since its December 2011 opening. It now has 57 gaming tables, up from 38 when it opened. There are also now 138 electronic gaming terminals, up from 92. A bespoke poker room will soon feature on the site to go with the sports bar, VIP bar and terrace, which has been hired out to corporate clients for the Games.