AEG Takes It On The Chin

An opposition culture spokesman has blamed the Labour government’s "clumsy mishandling" of the bidding process, but it looks as if AEG won’t protest the fact that the country’s first super casino won’t be on its Dome site at Greenwich.

Reports in The Daily Telegraph said David Campbell, the head of AEG in Europe, would "institute a judicial review" if he felt the advisory panel on gambling was marking his company down.

He also hinted that the company may be considering "all its options" regarding the £350 million it’s pumping into The Dome, but it now looks as if the Los Angeles-based entertainment giant is ready to take it on the chin.

It seems the comments attributed to Campbell, which were said to be taken from an interview he did with the paper 10 days before the license for the new casino was awarded to Manchester, are more newspaper talk than official AEG policy. The company has since made it clear it won’t be making any sort of protest.

"We are taking time to examine the findings in full and consider our position," was Campbell’s initial reaction to failing to land the casino license – newspaper stories said AEG had already advertised for croupiers. It now seems that all that time and consideration has led the company to believe that the best course of action is to keep its own counsel and do nothing.

It’s certainly not mounting the legal challenge the Telegraph was hoping for, but along with The Daily Mail and the Denver Business Journal, the paper has never been slow to spark any Anschutz controversy it can find.

It’s likely that the merits of any legal challenge would have been smothered by pages on Anschutz’s meetings with deputy prime minister John Prescott and the now legendary cowboy outfit.

Nigel Fletcher, the culture spokesman for Greenwich Conservatives, seems to think the entire Labour government is a cowboy outfit.

"I’m angry that Greenwich has paid such a high price for Labour’s clumsy mishandling of this process," he told the U.K. papers.

"Our bid was badly tainted by suspicions that not everything was above board or that it was a done deal. John Prescott and other ministers must take a large part of the blame for that, along with the Labour council."