Aberdeen, UK - Dozens of jobs are lost as a casino in Aberdeen closes down after 12 years in operation. The sudden closure is said to result from a new policy affecting the casino’s operation.
The Aberdeen Soul Casino is a small family business that has become quite well-known in the area. It is part of Granite Rock Casino Ltd. but is run by a separate company. It is said to have been affected by a “shift in the late night entertainment culture in the city” as well as high business rates and stricter drink-driving laws.
Aberdeen City has recently passed legislation allowing pubs to serve alcohol until 3AM. This decision is said to have been made without prior observations or research into how it may affect small businesses. It has resulted in a significant negative impact on all nightclub and casino operators in the city. Add to this some recent changes in drink-drive legislation, which caused gamblers to become more cautious in consuming alcohol, and it’s easy to understand why some small operators saw no other option but to close their doors.
The casino had about 40 employees when it closed up shop. Owners said the decision to close “was not made lightly” and the closure was done “with a heavy heart”. The employees were told not to report for work on Sunday, and the property has been locked down since.
Documents lodged by owner Granite Rock shows that the firm as a whole has actually failed to meet end-of-year target profits since 2003. And last year, they posted a loss of £500,000.
In the case of the Soul Casino, the owners singled out the lowering of the drink-drive limit from 35mg per litre of breath to 22mg as the primary factor that triggered the closure. They said, “Notably, the change in drink-drive legislation has led to increased caution in customers when drinking in a late night venue, as they may be over the limit the following morning. That has resulted in a steep decline in sales in the venue.”
The statement issued by the owners also stated: “We are proud to have operated Scotland’s only independent, family-owned casino for over 12 years...We would like to take this opportunity to thank the long-serving management and staff for their hard work over the years and for their recent efforts to keep Soul Casino trading.”
Aberdeen City Council Licensing Committee member Alan Donnelly described the casino’s sudden closure as a “tragic loss”, saying: “It was a well-respected and upmarket establishment. There were around 30 to 40 members of staff there and this will have a negative impact on them and the Aberdeen economy. I’m hoping the casino building can be re-used for another form of entertainment.”
Soul Bar, an adjacent business also owned by Granite Rock, but run by another company, will not be affected by the casino’s closure. Reports state that the bar will continue operating in Aberdeen. It has been noticed, however, that social media accounts and news about the bar have not been updated in the last few weeks.