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All bets are on as SMC wins £30m Windsor racing job

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The SMC Group has pipped HOK at the post to win a £30 million redevelopment project at Royal Windsor Racecourse which may also bring gambling halls and casinos to the Royal Borough, the AJ can reveal.

The group, headed by Stewart McColl, beat its rivals in a limited competition play-off and will create a new stand and 200-bed hotel for the venue for Arena Leisure, along with 'very broad-based leisure facilities'.

McColl said the project includes the creation of a 'betting arena' and the replacement of an existing stand as well as improvements to a stand built around six years ago, which will be integrated into the new.

But Client Arena - the UK's largest racecourse operator and leading gaming technology provider - is already looking at adding casinos, gaming halls and hotels to its five other courses in anticipation of the government's liberalisation of gaming laws. The scheme for the Thames-side site may also include health clubs.

As with another new proposal for Chester Racecourse by Pentagram (see page 8-9), and some football stadia, the facilities will be built to allow for flexible use away from racedays, since such clubs and courses only operate their primary function for seven per cent of the year. 'The obvious use is for conferences, conventions, promotions, and launches, ' said McColl. 'Our new proposals for the Royal Windsor Racecourse must give a commercial perspective to the total redevelopment plans.'

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