Holland Casino in Groningen has been completely destroyed due to a huge fire that swallowed up building around 7am on August 27 Sunday. The massive fire raged on for most of the day and firefighters were able to get it under control around 3:30pm. Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured, but millions worth of Euros of damage was done.
Local residents living in the streets surrounding the casino were evacuated as about 150 firemen tried to control the raging inferno and were successful come that afternoon on Sunday.
On August 29 Tuesday, as officials were examining the place that was not too far from the city central, they found asbestos amongst the rubble. This discovery resulted to several residents (who had been temporarily moved to a hotel in the city) not being allowed to return to their homes.
According to Mayor Peter de Oudsten, about 30 individuals were informed of the asbestos hazard, but he himself did not believe it poses a serious health risk. The mayor's spokesperson said, "The residents were allowed home, but it was up to them to judge if they wanted to. There were people who preferred to stay in the hotel. Some [homes] may also have smoke damage."
The company assigned to remove the asbestos said they "could not rule out" the possibility that particles of asbestos, a carcinogenic substance, has been spread by the smoke during the fire.
Chairman of the Holland Casino board Erwin van Laambart was unable to tell the local reporters exactly how much cash and chips held in the casino's safes that also perished in the flames. He only said that since Saturday evenings are the peak periods of the casino, then it is most likely a substantial amount.
The cause of the fire is still unknown
Van Laambart is "terribly shocked" and is saddened at the fate of around 200 employees of the Holland Casino in Groningen. He said, "This is a black page in Holland Casino's history." He is unable to say when the Groningen branch shall re-open. He said the board is trying to quickly find another, either temporary or permanent, venue in the city.
On August 29, written on the casino's online website, "Unfortunately, we have lost our building. Our initial concerns are for the well-being and safety of our staff, guests and the local residents."
Quoting van Lambaart on the website, "We feel at home in this city. Our short-term plan is to find alternative (temporary) premises in Groningen for our casino, our people and our guests. We will of course keep you informed about the developments."
Supposedly there should be a poker tournament that was scheduled on August 29 Tuesday at the casino venue; however, it has now been moved to Holland Casino Leeuwarden, about 40 miles away.
Holland Casino manages all of the country's 13 casinos as a state monopoly; however, gambling reforms approved in the Dutch lower chamber last February would privatize the chain, selling off at least ten of the casinos to private investors.
It remains unknown whether Holland Casino Groningen had been marked for privatization.