It’s a long way to Tipperary – and according to one prospective Irish casino developer, you’re only getting there if you have money. That’s the word from Richard Quirke, the arcade developer who still has hopes of building a casino in Tipperary County, even as the Irish government shows no signs of allowing any such project to go forward.
That statement came in a submission by Quirke to the Oireachtas Justice Committee, which included it as part of a plea for further consideration of major resort casinos in Ireland. In that submission, Quirke said that the poor would not become addicted to gambling at his casino for a very simple reason: they wouldn’t have the money to travel there.
Got No Green? You Won’t Be Seen
“The presence of casino gambling in Monte Carlo has no impact on gambling in deprived areas of Marseilles,” Quirke said, using the famous French resort casino town as an example. Quirke also pointed out that the profile of the typical casino patron has changed to a more middle-class clientele, rather than the stereotypical struggling poor gambler of yesteryear.
The proposed casino would be one located in the unlikely destination of Two-Miles Borris, a small village with a population of just around 500 that marks their 1900 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship as the town’s biggest claim to fame. But Quirke would make the village the home to what he called the Tipperary Venue: a massive resort-casino project that would be the first of its kind in Ireland.
Of course, there would be a casino – something that would stick out in such a rural area on its own. But the plans go much further, and include both horse and greyhound racing tracks, an eighteen-hole golf course, a five-star hotel with 500 rooms (enough to host the entire village if they wished to spend the night there), an equestrian center, and a replica of the White House.
Somebody Actually Thinks This Is a Good Plan
While all of that might sound outlandish, Quirke received permission to plan the resort from the North Tipperary County Council. And according to those plans, the resort would try to blend in with its scenic surroundings as much as possible (we’re sorry, we can’t stop laughing), with many of the buildings being covered by grass and efforts being made to landscape them into the area’s environment. There was even a plan for a 15,000-seat musical venue that would be located underground and feature a retractable roof – though planning boards found that to be a little too much for the rural community. Some local officials have even come out in favor of the project.
That must be some good whiskey they’re serving at those meetings.
But for now, all of these plans are on hold. The Irish government has been against the proposal since 2011, when it said that it would rule out any large gambling venues due to concerns over the societal harm they could cause. While the government was willing to regulate and allow smaller casinos, they showed no willingness to compromise on Las Vegas-style resorts.
Quirke has come out with revised plans for the facility in the hopes of getting more support from government officials, such as removing the dedicated casino facility and instead locating it in the basement level of the hotel, but so far there has been no movement on the project – at least from Ireland’s side.
Hey, on the plus side, if Obama’s approval ratings go any lower, he might like a retractable thatched roof White House to come home to. In Tipperary.