up shell, raises suspicion
By Tom McGhee, Staff Writer Denver Post
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Philip Anschutz's company AEG has reportedly built a shell
to house a regional casino at the Millennium Dome even
though the London location has yet to win approval for a
The British government will license only one regional casino
and the Dome is one of six locations under consideration by
a Casino Advisory Panel.
The shell construction has led opposition party politicians
to Prime Minister Tony Blair's government to suspect that
the project must already have won assurances that it would
win a casino license, according to The Times of London.
But an AEG spokesman in London told the Evening Standard
newspaper that the shell had to be built as part of the
original construction of the backstage area of the arena.
"If it had not been (built) we would not have been able to
open the complete arena on time by the end of June next year
as required," said Patrick Keegan, the AEG spokesman.
AEG, a Los Angeles-based subsidiary of the Anschutz Corp.,
has a lease with the British government to build an arena,
theaters and restaurants at the Dome on the River Thames.
The company wants to lease space to Kerzner International, a
South African company that plans to build a hotel and casino
on the site.
The casino is a central feature of AEG's plan for the $1
billion entertainment project.
Anschutz, a publicity-shy business mogul, has had a tough
time avoiding the glare of the media spotlight in Britain
Anschtuz's meetings with British Deputy Prime Minister John
Prescott ignited a political firestorm in the United Kingdom
after they came to light.
Prescott's political enemies have accused him of violating
conflict-of-interest rules by meeting with Anschutz at his
ranch near Greeley and elsewhere.
Prescott, Blair's second-in-command, has denied that the
meetings were a conflict of interest, saying he had no
influence over casino licensing, according to British media.
A casino location is expected to be announced in December.