Litigation concludes on Southampton large casino decision

The Court of Appeal has refused to allow Global Gaming Ventures (Southampton) Limited permission to appeal against the February 2017 judgment of Mr Justice Baker dismissing an application for judicial review of the decision of Southampton City Council to grant a large casino licence to Aspers (on which we reported here).

The Court of Appeal’s decision is reported on the website of Cornerstone Barristers, whose Head of Chambers Philip Kolvin QC represented the Council throughout the application process and in the subsequent litigation, as follows:

“In 2016, following a long competition under the Gambling Act 2005, the Council decided to grant the licence to Aspers, whose proposal at the Royal Pier anchored a large urban development scheme creating over 4,000 jobs, including hotels, residential, retail, offices, a community park and, of course, the casino itself.

A total of seven organisations had applied for the right to run the casino, with the prize going to the proposal adjudged to result in the greatest benefit to Southampton.

A judicial review challenge was mounted by GGV, a rival operator, whose proposal was for a casino on a retail site at Watermark West Quay. The main grounds of challenge were that the Council had adopted the wrong method for calculating the Gross Value Added (GVA) of the proposals, and in any case, the Council should have considered the possibility of the Royal Pier scheme proceeding even if Aspers was excluded. The challenge was dismissed at the permission stage by Mr Justice Baker in February 2017.

GGV took its case to the Court of Appeal, but Lord Justice Jackson has refused permission to appeal, bringing the case to a final conclusion. He held that it was “beyond the call of duty” for the Council to research what would have happened in the hypothetical situation that Aspers was not the anchor tenant. Further, the gap in GVA between the two schemes was such that however it was calculated the gap would remain: ‘there was really no contest between the two’.”