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The Enabler

By John  Hughes :  16/07/2008 :  Comments (31) :
So while we are all here trying to find that magical enabler that would allow Everton to redevelop Goodison Park. Like all the most simple Idea?s it's right under our noses. I can hear you say it?.what the fuck are you on about John. A Planer Hollywood being the enabler for the stadium at Goodison....some money that?s going to bring in?.but wait a minute hear me out. This is the same Robert Earl who owns two casinos. Planet Hollywood resort and Casino and the Aladdin Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas?.we need an enabler so why not stick a casino on the redeveloped Goodison? Earl Gets his investment realised and Everton remain in the City.

Now think about this. LFC will have a hotel?. good for them but all the people who stay at their hotel will be spending their money in the Everton casino?. It doesn?t have to be branded Everton but is Tesco?s an Everton brand? As part of the deal Everton could build the casino for Earl and Everton would receive a percentage of the profits for building the casino. Therefore Earl see?s a return on his investment. Everton creates a new income stream and we all get to stay in the City.

Now you are going to say why LCC would agree to that?.well they have gone public to say they will do anything to keep Everton in the city. They have also said that they would work with the club to expand the footprint. (before you all shout about them being liars they (LCC) have gone public with this Everton haven?t said they would engage (publicly) so we have to say the will is there on the city councils part). Also if they are granting LFC permission to build a hotel then to attract more people to stay in their hotel they need entertainment?..and let?s face it they?re not going to get it watching boring Liverpool play are they.

The casino could be linked to the corporate sections of the ground offering the all round entertainment package. The lower or ground floor of the casino would be the concourse into the stadium and the 3 other huge floor could house the casino floors and restaurants. Imagine the walk into the ground!!!

So, in a nutshell, you have the redevelopment enabler, a proven money-making scheme, a scheme which could even make money out of the kopites (and how we would love that), a scheme which would provide another income stream for the club outside of football. A scheme which would attract corporates to it?..even if they used the LFC hotel they would still spend all their money in the casino?.it would probable attract their corporates after the game?.It would attract investment as businesses go where the money is.

Now I?m un-educated in the Gambling rules but there are casinos in the city centre and if EFC used their nouse for once they could call it an extension to the LFC site.

As I see it and I might not have explained it well up here but I?ll put it in the domain to see what you guys think. Don?t worry I'm not waiting for the Yes?s to suggest this is the last lame attempt to stop DK. I?m waiting for the ?it?s never going to happen? and all the stick that goes with it. But all the Yes voters out there have suggested that without an enabler we can?t afford to redevelop Goodison. Well, Yes voters?.an enabler don?t have to be retail. I?ve given you the enabler. The person who can make this happen even sits on the board of EFC.

I guess this makes this Plan G by now doesn?t it?

Reader Comments

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Chris Brown
1   Posted 16/07/2008 at 23:38:31

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I?m not sure what sorts of regulations there are over there, but here in the USA, there is NO WAY a professional sport would ever be allowed to be intergrally tied to gambling/casinos. The integrity of the game means too much. Just imagine the potential for abuse.

Personally, I think you?ve presented an interesting idea, but I know over here, there is no way it wouldhappen. There is a reason that VEGAS doesn?t have any major professional sports teams (even their biggest college team got sanctioned for point shaving). Vegas has been trying to get an NFL or NBA team for a LONG time, but neither organization is willing to even entertain the idea.
Frank Brown
2   Posted 16/07/2008 at 23:37:08

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The reason why Kirkby town centre was chosen was because it badly needed retail and it badly needed regeneration. The enabling at Kirkby is huge retail which can support enough enabling for a massive stadium, there just isnt the space at GP for anything remotely like it and LCC wouldnt allow it anyway because of Liverpool One, unfortunately LCC has no control over KMBC. I dont think a Casino or a Bingo Hall or other leisure facility would fit on GP or even an expanded GP site and in any case wouldnt be enough for enabling. And can you see the very left leaning folk of Walton tolerating a casino AND a larger stadium- NO CHANCE, Kirkby opposition would seem like a walk in the park in comparison! Walton Hall Park (with just a Sainsburys) or the loop (a hotel) fall down for the same reasons- not enough space for enabling developments.
Jay Harris
3   Posted 17/07/2008 at 01:24:33

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I am not sure whether it would get permission or even stand up economically but it’s the kind of thinking that a progressive board should have instead of "there’s no plan B ...... oh well there might be. but I dont know what’s going on I’m only the Chairman for God’s sake".
Gavin Ramejkis
4   Posted 17/07/2008 at 06:16:06

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John I posted some time ago about how a hotel development could be built providing income and used by both sets of fans and that the whole area is due a rebirth with Project Jennifer and the Stanley Park stadium, sadly I think unless the current board have full frontal labotomies you have little chance of them showing the business acumen and foresight to think of ideas for themselves. Just as the Great Homer Street Tesco is ignored as an enabler for a stadia as part of Jennifer and Frank Brown if you visit the tracts of derelict spaces behind the loop or even google earth it, it would be the enabling elements of it as part of the ongoing city centre regeneration and have grants attached for parts of it. Sadly without a will, there isn’t a way.
Derek Thomas
5   Posted 17/07/2008 at 06:41:20

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Excellent proposal John; men of vision founded the Club and built Goodison. We are where we are now due to ’ x ’ yrs of men lacking vision. Men whose ethical compass always points due money.

’ Don’t ask me, I’m only the chairman’, (deliberate small c as only proper nouns have capital letters and we require a proper Chairman.) sums it up.

When it comes to vision BK would be out of his depth on a damp pavement.

Erik Dols
6   Posted 17/07/2008 at 07:36:45

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Chris Brown, I can tell you from personal experience that at least two football stadiums in the Netherlands contain a (small) casino. MVV from Maastricht are considering joining a project from Harrah’s, who want to build a Ceasar’s Palace, Las Vegas style, Las Vegas size. And in England you can gamble on the outcome of the match INSIDE the stadium.

I don’t think there will be a big problem with the connection of sports and gambling. There might be more of an issue that the LCC will not allow a casino in this particular district, but I admit immediately that I don’t know enough of Walton and local government in England to say anything about this. Back to MVV: they wanted a small casino in their current stadium. Only reason they did not get it was because the current stadium is in a poor district of the city and the local government was reluctant to see the unemployed splash their allowance in the casino.
Colin Fitzpatrick
7   Posted 17/07/2008 at 09:33:26

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Hello John, this can’t be done, it’s illegal. You can only purchase the small casino licences from an existing casino, that’s if you can find one that wants to sell, the size of casino required is illegal in the UK, the Government were going to issue 16 super licences but after the Manchester fiasco this was shelved. I know you’ve mentioned Earl several times but he has nothing whatsoever to do with Everton Football Club.
John Hughes
8   Posted 17/07/2008 at 09:36:58

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Frank Brown

You seem to be forgetting that the Stadium is the enabler for Kirkby. Not the retail element. Without the stadium the retail park which is being proposed would not be allowed to be built.

Secondly The enabler does not have to be retail so Liverpool one wouldn’t object to this.

I don’t know what the LCC would say but have they ever been asked?
Barry Sherlock
9   Posted 17/07/2008 at 09:34:41

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Good shout. At last. Not just the normal "instead of spending £78m on Kirkby spend £78m on GP". An Enabler - that is exactly what is needed wherever we build. Not sure that it would ever get accepted/approved but the idea is definately right.
John Hughes
10   Posted 17/07/2008 at 09:40:43

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Colin Fitzpatrick -

Earl Owns 24% of the company indirectly. From what I can geather BCR sports is owned by Rober Earl so in effect he has a lot to do with Everton.

With regards to the casino licences I have no idea how this works and if what you say is true blows this out of the water doesn?t it really.
John Hughes
11   Posted 17/07/2008 at 09:56:25

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Just a thought - Can anyone tell me how much profit does a small casino make per year? How small is a "small" casino? Why wouldn?t another casino licence holder not want to expand their portfolio?

If a small casino makes enough profit to give EFC £3 million a year this would pay for itself. I would gues withn a few years and all profit from then is another guarenteed income stream.
Colin Fitzpatrick
12   Posted 17/07/2008 at 10:01:27

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Hello John, yes it would have been an excellent idea, believe it or not it was investigated four or five years ago, the Sands Corporation were involved.

The mysterious BCR Sports; if you can post a link showing any information as to the shareholding of this company I?d appreciate it.
Tom Hughes
13   Posted 17/07/2008 at 09:38:17

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Everton are having to find £78m to fund this stadium. That equates to over 3/4 of the construction costs. This is set to increase since that estimate was with regard to realising the full retail application. This has been reduced by over 30% so far. Therefore, the retail enabling package could shrink further hardly appears the self-funding golden egg it was portrayed as at the vote.... like everything else that accompanied it so no surprise there!! Retail is not the only enabling vehicle. Try booking a hotel in Liverpool this week. I just tried, the nearest rooms available are in Manchester, despite the biggest hotel building programme in the country. Most major chains report their Liverpool branches having the biggest room occupancy in the country, and they represent the most significant number of planning applications for the city centre at the moment. We could readily place a hotel at the Parkend, where there is no limit on height. Just 2 miles from the city-centre, on a main arterial road, and in a prominent corner/gateway location, over-looking a victorian park, the first purpose built footy stadium in the world etc. We could also offer boxes convertible to rooms as a further enticement. How many hotels have that as a selling point? All in the vicinity of another major football ground that relies heavily on out of town support. The return would be 100% profit for the club, not some small percentage-cut as at Kirkby since it would being built on our property. Seeing as we already have 40,000 seats at GP (most of which are very much redeemable) we don’t need to fund 35-40,000 new seats as at Kirkby. Do the sums, "deal of the century" is rapidly turning into scam of the millenium, all to ensure that Tesco can ride roughshod over EVERY piece of local and national planning legislation and even Knowsley’s own UDP. What do we get....? £78m outlay we weren’t supposed to even have (hence no plan B). Just one of the 4 stands for nowt (maybe), all in one of the least accessible sites for a stadium in Merseyside...... etc!
EJ Ruane
14   Posted 17/07/2008 at 09:34:50

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John’s idea for the Casino is, in my opinion, a truly great idea.

Not being funny, not taking the piss - a fucking great bit of thinking.

(thinking outside the the box or whatever the yanks call it)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure (as with every great idea) there will be a lot of people who can find a million reasons for why it WON’T work, but this is just part of a wider ’problem’ regarding humans.

Lack of imagination.

It’s a funny thing with us humans, we’re quite happy to boast that we lack SOME ’skills’’.

"Me rewire my house!? I’m HOPELESS with that kind of thing. I can’t even change a PLUG! Haw haw haw.." etc.

But accuse someone of a lack of imagination or a lack of creativity and they will not be pleased.

Well the truth is, most of them/us are wrong, because most of them/us DON’T have much imagination

An example?

Well look, almost every adult (whether they DIY or pay someone) decides how the interior of their home looks.

They choose paint colours, wallpaper, furniture etc.

Now, how often have you heard anyone say "Just decorated my front room, you should see it, fuckin’ hopeless, makes me spew every time I walk in, looks like a blind, crack-addicted Australian went nuts with a spray gun..." etc.

(clue: Never!)

You’re much more likely to hear "Yeah we’re really pleased with the way it turned out".

Now of course it’s subjective area, but my guess is that the world’s top interior designers would tell you most peoples living rooms look likes shite.

And the point of this ’wisdom’?

It is my opinion that the reason for 99% of the shite we have to endure supporting Everton FC, is as a direct result of our club being ’run’ by people who are ’really pleased with the way it turned out’.

BK out, JH in!

Paul OHanlon
15   Posted 17/07/2008 at 12:32:27

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John, like yourself I’m not sure on the licensing laws, but I do think you’ve got the basis of a top idea.

The one flaw I do see however is Liverpool and their fans using our casino. I know you say it doesn’t have to be branded as Everton, but they’ll know its ours and I’m sure they’d rather take a short trip into town and use one of the many casinos there. In fact I’m sure the RS hotel would actively advertise town centre hotels to discourage their guests from using our casino.

But I do think a combination of your idea and Tom Hughes’s (the Hughes boys are coming up trumps today!) hotel in the Park End would compliment each other. If only our board would take on such suggestions from fans such as yourselves. What’s more likely is they’ll wheel out highly paid experts to shoot down your ideas and then take you to court!
Erik Dols
16   Posted 17/07/2008 at 13:46:54

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John Hughes, when I talk about a small casino I mean a casino with a couple of hundred slot machines, some automated roulettes, automated horse racing and card tables and such. No tables with real human life croupiers etc. I don’t know the proper name in English (amusement hall???). In Holland there is a distinction between the two, it is far easier to become the first type that it is to become a "real" casino with staff organising the games ands shows and space for dining etc.

That’s what I meant with small casino. Such an amusement hall or whatever it is called can easily be incorporated in a redeveloped Goodison. I guess a wider footprint is needed for a Vegas-style casino.

The small casino’s I talk about are cash machines in the Netherlands. They make huge profits. It attracts a fair share of dubious persons though.
Dave Wilson
17   Posted 17/07/2008 at 13:54:54

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Another good article John
I’m with Peter, between yourself and Tom you’ve come up with some very positive alternatives, I too Would love to see someone with the desire to make it work land Bully’s job
Guy Hastings
18   Posted 17/07/2008 at 14:30:41

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With the current motley crew in charge we?d end up as the only loss-making casino in history!!!
Micky Norman
19   Posted 17/07/2008 at 15:51:59

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Another "enabler"...... buy two houses on opposite sides of Queens Drive. Erect a washing line between the two houses. Hang stainless steel shirts, bras and jeans on the line and charge cars a quid a time to lift them out of their way so they can pass along the drive. Should bring in several million a year. 4x4s and cars over 2 litres can pay double but busses go free. Sure to get environmental funding from the EC.
Peter Howard
20   Posted 17/07/2008 at 17:04:54

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We could buy all those gaming tables and slot machines that Manchester no longer needs and set the cost off against the Rooney money
Stanley Ashbourne
21   Posted 17/07/2008 at 18:48:26

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A casino, would be like a new sighning!
Andy MacFarlane
22   Posted 17/07/2008 at 19:33:06

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A worthy idea, John, but I?m afraid Colin Fitzpatrick is abolutely correct. There was a wave of "optimism" a few years ago that the casino licensing laws in the UK would be relaxed, and a few football clubs (including Man U) were investigating the idea. The Gov did a U-Turn, and the idea of more than the currently permitted "super casinos" (which alone would generate enabling funds) is now dead in the water for the foreseeable future.
Ste Kenny
23   Posted 17/07/2008 at 19:47:53

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Fuck that, Imagine the scene.... 2:55pm Saturday, derby day. Moyes "Neville and Osman in the middle, Arteta on the right andy your on the left.... Andy, ANDY ANDY!!!!!!"

"I?ll have 10 grand on red and another rum and coke when your ready chief"
Ste Kenny
24   Posted 17/07/2008 at 20:05:07

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In all seriousness, we cannot generate sufficient funds through prize money, merchandising etc. Why shouldn't we look at projects of this nature whether we go to Kirkby or not?
Graham Brandwood
25   Posted 17/07/2008 at 21:09:14

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As strange coincidence this, but our future brothers at Coventry City have a large casino built on to there Ricoh arena. This would have greater chance of working if it was built nearer the City centre at the loop but it has been done. If the club were to go down this route there may be problems with getting a licence as our new PM seems to have a downer on gambling, and i think there are new rules with regards to getting a licence for larger gambling venues.
John Hughes
26   Posted 18/07/2008 at 11:46:53

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Paul ? The mention of LFC fans using it was a suggestion?.in saying that most business?s who hire the corporate facilities at football clubs don?t actually support the club they hire the facility in. They will allow supporters of said club (who work for them) to use the facility to ?entertain? their clients. Your right that day to day LFC fans would probably snub it but I disagree with you were the corporate side of it is concerned.

Also for everyone who has replied to the post I have mentioned this in terms of redeveloping Goodison. Will this idea work for the other ?alternative sites? It doesn?t have to be Goodison. A casino closer to the city centre with a hotel attached with both being part of Everton?s stadium would make this a fantastic opportunity.

Colin F ? Can?t validate that info re BCR Sports officially mate but if you can believe everything you read in the papers check this out.
Also check this from Toffeeweb in 2006

Erik D ? The ?vision? (haha!!) I have had would be a casino along the lines of those seen in the city centre and others across the country. It doesn?t have to be a Vegas like structure but it?d have to be more than a Slot machine arcade although I don?t discount the vast amount of profit they make.

As mentioned above Robert Earl already owns two casino?s in Las Vegas so he will/should know the UK rules regarding gambling and Licenses etc. I think he would make it work. Having a planet Hollywood in the Casino and having his film star mates come to visit would be a major attraction. All this with Everton?s fantastic redeveloped?/new? Stadium as the backdrop.

Can someone explain why (as someone mentioned) Coventry already have a casino in their stadium and that this is illegal? The Coventry casino would suggest this can be done?

I would hope common sense would prevail here with regards to spending money in casinos. I wouldn?t let my children spend their money in a casino, however when they are earning their own money and living their own lives how can I stop them? It?s their choice. I would hope that I gave enough good advice during bringing them up to allow them to make the right decisions. Also with this comment should we remove bookies from all football grounds?

The casino is an ?Enablement Idea? It does not mean you have to go into it yourself, It?s aimed at the corporate market we are so sadly missing, which is also the reason we lack in the financial stakes (so we are led to believe).

What Kirkby doesn?t give Everton is an income stream outside of football. Kirkby does facilitate building the equivalent of one new stand but then that?s were it stops. No more income from it apart from the pittance we will make from increased (if it does increase) attendance. Don?t think a 50,000 capacity stadium makes sufficient revenue just because it?s 50,000 seats are available, those seats have to be filled at least 19 times a season for Everton to make money. Can you see that happening?

Also you have to remember that the stadium is the enabler for the retail. Not the other way around.
EJ Ruane
27   Posted 18/07/2008 at 12:32:01

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And the winner.....(opens envelope)...of the most ludicrous analogy of the fucking year...goes to...


And before John recieves his award, let’s take another look at his work.

"Why don?t we people traffic some chinese cockle pickers, it would be a great revenue stream. We could sell the cockles on the open market and pump the profits into the club or sell the poor buggers to the highest bidding slave driver"

Steve Templeton
28   Posted 18/07/2008 at 13:20:31

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I think he was being ironic............
EJ Ruane
29   Posted 18/07/2008 at 13:53:20

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Ahhhhhhh, I see what you mean Steve!

You mean he’s being ’Ironic’ because...there’s absolutely no irony...and it is THAT very lack of Irony, that IS the irony.

(If that is the case, we’re are talking about a true genius)
Derek Thomas
30   Posted 18/07/2008 at 20:59:01

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The whole point is....

John Hughes had an idea, even John ’chinese cockle pickers’ Gee had an idea.

Bill has no idea, or ideas, piss poor or otherwise.
Trevor Lynes
31   Posted 22/07/2008 at 16:01:08

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I've travelled from Huyton, Ellesmere Port and now Wrexham to watch EFC at Goodison so the distance is no object. The main reason to go to watch football is to be entertained by a top class football team playing in the Premier League... if money is not spent on a decent team that need to be improved to maintain a top table challenge then it doesn?t matter how large or where the stadium is... it won't get filled!!

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