Luminar, Britain's biggest nightclub and late-night bar operator, is talking to Accor Casinos of France to form a joint venture that would see 25 to 30 of its biggest dance venues into gaming-based entertainment operations, a report in the Times says this morning. The newspaper said neither party would comment last night, and any deal would be conditional on the deregulation of the UK gambling industry, which is not expected until 2005. But Steve Thomas, Luminar's chief executive, has hinted that sites such as those in Southampton and Hemel Hempstead would be big enough to satisfy the likely minimum floor space condition it is expected the government will impose on any new cambling operation. After plunging like-for-like sales at Luminar last year, Thomas has been following a strategy of finding complementary uses for the company's venues, which are often the largest hireable hall in their town or city. The company said in November it plans to invest £100m to convert 54 of its 160 unbranded dance venues to one of four brands, Oceana, Lava/Ignite, Liquid and Life. Yesterday it was announced that Accor Casinos is to merge with Lucien Barrière to create Europe's biggest gaming operator with 37 casinos, 13 luxury hotels and annual revenues of about Eu900m (£625m).