Arcade Club for retro gamers to open in defunct former Blackpool casino

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A former Blackpool casino is set for a new lease of life - this time with retro gaming machines and no gambling.

An Arcade Club fitted with around 200 classic arcade games is planned to open in empty premises on Bloomfield Road, next to Blackpool FC's stadium, which were formerly occupied by the Sam Thai and Paris casinos.

Gamers at one of Arcade Club's other venues

Gamers at one of Arcade Club's other venues

It will be the third venue to be launched following clubs in Leeds and Bury where the team behind the scheme is based, and is hoped to open next February.

Andy Palmer, owner of Arcade Club, predicted the venture would attract new visitors to Blackpool by offering a different experience to the resort's existing slot machine arcades.

He said: "We buy gaming machines which you don't seen any more and restore them so people can come and enjoy the games of their youth.

"Years ago Blackpool was the place to go and play these games, but there are none of these old-style arcades left any more.

The building when it operated as the Paris Casino

The building when it operated as the Paris Casino

"What we are offering is that experience which is different to the modern arcades so we are not muscling in on their business.

"There will be no fruit machines or gambling."

Visitors to Arcade Club pay an admission fee and once inside, the games are free to play with people able to come and go during the day using their pass.

Admission would be £16 for over 16s, £8 for under 16s, with free entry for children aged under four. Under 16s would have to be accompanied by an adult, with 16 and 17-year-olds admitted without an adult at the discretion of the club.

There would also be a licensed bar and restaurant and up to 30 jobs could be created.

The new operators are leasing the building which has remained empty since the Sam Thai closed in April 2015 with the loss of 50 jobs. The property was put up for sale last year for £800,000.

Mr Palmer added: "It is still in very good condition inside and we have kept as much as we can including the restaurant and bar.

"We will be bringing in more than 200 original arcade machines, and also refurbishing the outside of the building.

"It will be a family venue and hopefully we can give something back to Blackpool."

An application has been made to Blackpool Council's planning department for a certificate of lawful use for the premises, which if approved will cancel any need for planning permission.

Arcade Club started as a private collection of 30 retro arcade machines in the back room of a family run computer shop.

Retro games include Frogger, Kung-Fu Master and Sega Rally Championships 1995 but the clubs also have some modern gaming rooms.