The battle to build the UK's first "large" casino in the Olympic Borough of Newham is heating up I can reveal.
Leisure groups Genting Malaysia and Apollo Resorts & Leisure have joined forces to bid to build the casino as the first phase of a 68-acre mixed-use scheme at the Silvertown Quays in east London - a site that has had a chequered history to say the least.
It's a strong team that clearly has ambitions to get involved in the Olympics bonanza and potential growth in fringe locations.
Genting Ibico and Apollo will each hold 50% equity interests in the joint venture company which is incorporated in the UK, Genting Malaysia said in a Malaysian stock market announcement.
It said that the joint venture company's main activities would include "obtaining a long-term lease or to acquire land located at the Royal Docks, Silvertown Quays, Newham, owned by the London Development Agency".
It added that it would be involved in "developing and operating a leisure entertainment destination and exploiting the Olympic Festival Village opportunity".
London Development Agency land and development director Steve Kennard confirmed to me yesterday that it had begun negotiations with the jv to develop a casino as the first phase of a "substantial, sustainable regeneration" of the 68-acre Silvertown Quays site. But Kennard said everything clearly rested on Newham council's choice of location and partner, which will be made in February of next year.
Westfield in particular has a strong alternative case. It has tied up with Aspers to bid for the licence and is already proudly pointing out where the casino would sit at its Stratford City shopping centre if its bid is successful. The casino would certainly have great views of the Olympic Park.
Newham clearly is spoilt for choice but it has a dilemma. Does it plump for Silvertown Quays, a site it is desperate to rejuvenate as the centrepiece of its plans for the Royal Docks, but risk paralysis subsequently bogging down the project as has happened before?
Or does it go for the fool-proof option of Stratford City, which is ready to go and will clearly deliver, but equally is a guaranteed success story already.
Its heart will probably be saying Silvertown but its head will no doubt be thinking of Stratford. Anyway here are some more details on the story below including details of the other bidders:
The LDA will officially bring back to market the site at MIPIM next year after long-running plans for a leisure and housing development collapsed last year.
The regeneration body reached an out-of-court settlement to terminate its development agreements with its former partner on the £1.5bn Silvertown Quays scheme in June.
Estates Gazette revealed in September last year that the LDA had served termination notices on the Silvertown Quays consortium, seven years after selecting it to develop a leisure-led scheme.
Genting and Apollo had been bidding to build the casino on separate sites in the borough with Apollo Resorts & Leisure focusing on Silvertown Quays while Genting Casinos UK had been focusing on a site on Broadway in Stratford.
A tie-up between Aspers Group and Westfield is bidding to build the casino at Stratford City while the LDA has also been approached by Grosvenor Casinos about building the casino at the Royals Business Park, where there are plans for a 3m sq ft mixed-use development.
The Great Eastern Quays Casino consortium is targeting a site at Great Eastern Quays at Gallions Reach, E16.
Newham was one of eight locations granted licences for the UK's first large casinos in 2007. It was the first to formally seek a partner.