Winkelman urges developers to take a gamble on his casino plan

Pete Winkelman
Pete Winkelman

A CASINO at stadium:mk would help attract music acts to the city, according to Pete Winkelman.

The Dons chairman is in the process of submitting a bid to house the casino within the grounds of the football stadium, going up against proposals from Xscape and the Leisure Plaza.

But Mr Winkelman thinks that landing the casino will help him finish building the troubled Arena at the stadium, bringing with it the prospect of concerts from the world’s biggest acts.

He said: “For me, it will underwrite the funding I’d need to get the arena finished. And that’s to actually fit it out and open it.

“The biggest thing I think we need to add to Milton Keynes at the moment is to get the Arena open. Promoters are crying out to put their artists into Milton Keynes. There are big conventions and conferences that we have to turn down at the hotel because we haven’t got the space. But we are in that market, Milton Keynes needs the Arena and the casino would help me do it.

“What it would give us is a solidness financially that will help fund the Arena and sort that out, which is what I really want.”

While he would love to see the venue at the stadium, Mr Winkelman admitted he isn’t the biggest fan of casinos, but feels the stadium is the ideal location as it is outside of the town centre.

He said: “I’m probably not the biggest casino supporter, but there is going to be one in Milton Keynes. I think a casino here on the stadium site could make a difference.

“You have to visit it, you have to know you’re going there, you have to want to go there. All those things are important when you’re talking about gambling.

“At the same time, it is an entertainment and leisure destination, and will add to the attractiveness of the stadium site.”