A wealthy Dublin businessman by the name of Richard Quirke is in the process of organizing the investment of €460 million to build a super-casino in North Tipperary, not far from the Irish village of Two-Mile-Borris. The proposed development brings with it a lot of very positive prospects. One thousand jobs will be created during the three-year construction of the complex, with 2,000 more becoming available when it is completed. A massive influx of visitors who would not otherwise visit the area will bring a surge of income to the sleepy corner of the country. But in spite of these prospects, not everyone is as excited as Quirke.
Irish gambling laws are fairly relaxed, but the idea of creating such a massive gambling centre in the midst of the current global economic climate is, according to many, an absurd idea. The proposed super-casino would include a 500-room luxury hotel, even though hotels are closing all across Ireland. It would also boast a golf course, a covered horse track, a greyhound track, a 15,000-capacity underground entertainment center with a retractable roof, and finally – believe it or not – a full-sized replica of the White House in memory of its Irish architect, James Hoban. Call it madness, but Quirke is absolutely serious about the move, and has already invested €30 million in purchasing the 800-acre plot where the super-casino is to be built.
The proposed complex is being called “the most sophisticated and ambitious project the country has ever seen”. Several questions, however, remain to be answered. How will Quirke find a bank to finance the project? Will the local community be supportive? Will the local council even grant Quirke a license? The project to build Ireland’s first super-casino certainly seems to be getting ahead of itself.
The fact that this is a casino is not the issue. While casino gambling in Ireland was illegal for many years, the country’s attitude towards gambling has been loosening up. A recent surge in the popularity internet gambling in Ireland testifies to the fact that the Irish people are not resistant to influx of the industry. Ultimately, the question is simple – even if Quirke finds sufficient financing; even if the government grants him a license; even if he gains the trust and support of the local community – will this massive investment stay afloat on its own commercial merit, or will this just be the next Millennium Dome?