Trevor Hemmings, 67, now lives in a Channel Islands tax haven but started out as a Lancashire brickie who left school at 15. He is expected to grow from a millionaire into a billionaire thanks to Labour’s deregulation of casinos.
His Blackpool-based firm Leisure Parcs has proved adept at enlisting local Labour MPs and pressure groups behind a casino free-for-all, with the promise that a Las Vegas-style “resort casino” will mean regeneration for a seaside town with its best days behind it.
Leisure Parcs has put Paul Dimoldenberg on its payroll. Dimoldenberg is a Westminster Labour councillor and director of the lobbying firm Good Relations, alongside former Labour official David Hill, whose extensive political links include the fact that his partner Hilary Coffman is a senior press officer at Downing Street.
Mr Hemmings is working on his casino plans in partnership with banking group HBOS. He made his first money in building, before branching into leisure through Pontin’s, the holiday camp company, and Center Parcs, the Dutch holiday group. He then moved on to owning racecourses and casinos.
“You will not see me in the restaurants at Lingfield or Ayr racecourse,” he said. “I queue up at the chippy. You have to learn about the real people, and understand their requirements.”
He has interests in slot machine software, and is planning casinos on racecourses at Wolverhampton, Lingfield and Windsor which he controls through Arena Leisure, a company also financed by the Bank of Scotland.