Hilton Group plans ‘Las Vegas style’ hotels for UK resorts

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Hilton Group PLC wants to introduce Las Vegas glamour to resorts such as Brighton and plans to transform coastal hotels into giant casinos with roulette tables, slot machines and cabaret, The Sunday Times reported citing chief executive David Michels.

Hilton, which hopes to revamp its 400-room Brighton hotel by the end of next year, also wants to transform sites in Blackpool and Bournemouth.

“You could have mini Atlantic Cities. The hotels in Blackpool and Brighton are both very big, and they have banqueting facilities that can become large casinos. There will be slot-machine areas as well as entertainment and gaming – roulette wheels, craps and poker,” he is quoted as saying.

He expects the Brighton site to include 200 slot machines and up to 30 gaming tables.

The hotels could attract gamblers by offering machines with unlimited cash jackpots – to be made possible by the changes to gaming laws.

Hilton plans to add cabaret and entertainment to attract couples where only one partner is interested in gambling.

“If you don’t add the entertainment you are not adding enough,” said Michels. “There are people, for example, who go to Las Vegas and don’t gamble. And in the same way, our resorts must always be an experience and not just a gamblers’ den. Besides which, if you are in a resort like Brighton there are plenty of other things to do if your UFA partner is not interested in gambling,” he added.

Hilton plans to target the middle market of occasional gamblers and weekend breakers with its casino hotels.

Speculation that Cryptologic Inc. would continue to suffer from credit card issuers blocking online gambling transactions was verified late Wednesday when the firm issued an earnings warning for its second quarter.

Shares of Cryptologic, an online gaming software provider, have tumbled 44% since mid-May on concerns the firm’s U.S. business would dry up as more credit card issuers took steps to protect against possible federal legislation banning internet gambling.

Gamblers trying to renege on debts racked up online have also made credit card issuers increasingly wary of processing the transactions, analysts said yesterday.

The stock closed down for the fourth consecutive session yesterday, ending off 35¢ at a 52-week low of $11.20 yesterday.

Citigroup Inc. is the most recent financial institution to announce it will no longer process online gaming transactions, extending a problem which, earlier this year, Cryptologic had suggested would ease.

Cryptologic’s lowered guidance sees revenue of US$8.8-million to US$9-million, down from original expectations for US$9.5-million to US$10.5-million. The company now expects earnings in the quarter of 15¢ a share to 17¢, down from original expectations for 19¢ to 22¢.

Cryptologic also said it will take a US$9.5-million charge in the second quarter.