Aspers Newcastle Casino
Before you go:
Reg/Walk In: Walk in Cashout at Machines: Coupon Dress Code: Smart casual Rewards Programme: Yes Parking: Parking available from £2.00 Restaurants: Yes Bars: Yes
Address: The Gate Complex, Newgate Street, NE1 5TG Telephone: 44 1912550400 Website: http://www.aspersnewcastle.co.uk/
As today is international stretch a questionable metaphor day, I’m going to look at the vast untamed savannahs of the Newcastle casino landscape. Sitting at the pinnacle of the food chain, master of all it surveys, and quite capable of eating anything in its path (as it did with the ill-fated Bannatynes casino in Newcastle) is Aspers.
The first of the very successful Aspers chain (successful that is, unless you count the eventual roadkill that was Swansea), Aspers Newcastle opened about 7 years ago, and did so on a huge scale, on three floors. There are even two major entrances, one from the phenomenally successful “Gate” leisure complex, the other from Newcastle’s Stowell Street, which is home to about 15 Chinese restaurants – no mugs, these casino owners.
The Gate has been a huge success, being a pretty standard collection of leisure spots including a cinema, loads of bars on the ground floor and then restaurants on the first floor as well as the principle entrance to the casino. Go in through this door and you’ll come past what appears to be an arcade, and then onto the very large main gaming floor. The main bar is on your right, and on your left is the rather pleasant secluded slots area, with all up to date kit keyed in through a silky TITO payout system, all incentivised with the “Aspire” loyalty programme.
Wandering down the centre of the gaming floor you eventually see the upper floors ahead, which have some function space and a not-very-often used VIP space – as usual in UK casinos, the bigger players (including all the well-off restaurant owners) generally like to play in sight of everyone else. The floor doglegs to the right, where there are yet more tables, another smaller bar, and eventually a very large and well attended poker room. Naturally there are squadrons of electronic roulette terminals everywhere, with the unusual feature that you can play Punto Banco on them, as they constantly have a dealer pulling cards on one of the tables, whether they have players on that table or not.
The other entrance comes in a level below the main floor, and opens into a different bar area, with stairs up to the main floor. Naturally it’s pretty popular with the Chinese community, who are generally known to quite like a punt!
It’s a vast site, and was something of a pathfinder for a lot of ambitious UK casino projects. However the key is not the scale or the décor (dark, moody and a bit edgy – excellent) but the location. The accessibility to the key Chinese market and the huge popularity of the Gate complex means they pretty much run two different businesses at different times of the week, and one imagines make a bunch out of both.