EXACTLY two years after flames destroyed a Blackpool casino, the owner says he’s continuing to bet on the resort.
The Paris Casino on Station Road, South Shore, was wrecked by a fire which broke out on July 27, 2009 in the Grand Hotel next door.
But work is well underway to re-open the casino after owner Pierre Coulon took over the former Number One Club on Bloomfield Road last year.
Originally it had been hoped to re-launch this tourist season following a £1m makeover, but delays have set the work back.
But Mr Coulon said he was now on schedule to open before Christmas.
He said: “We are on track now and are looking forward to re-opening and welcoming in our customers, old and new.
“We will definitely be open before Christmas and are hoping to be ready to take Christmas bookings for our casino and restaurant.”
The new casino will be more than twice as big as its predecessor but will retain the same French theme.
Customers will enter through a new reception area before reaching the gaming area, slot machines and card room on the first floor, which will also house the new restaurant and bar.
Mr Coulon had to battle to secure planning permission for the new venture from the council after planners originally recommended only giving a temporary permission for the scheme for four years.
As well as damage from the flames, the water used by firefighters to extinguish the 2009 blaze wrecked the interior of Mr Coulon’s business.
He was one of around 75 people forced to flee the casino building on the night of the fire and oversaw a successful evacuation which enabled all customers and staff to exit the smoke-logged building without injury.
It eventually took firefighters three days to fully extinguish all the pockets of fire.
Blackpool, which already boasts the Grosvenor Casino and the Circus Casino, both on the Promenade, is due to get a fourth casino after Coral Island secured a gambling licence and planning permission with its venture due to open in time for the 2012 season.