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Last Updated: Monday, 29 January 2007, 19:27 GMT
The 'super-casino' contenders
Seven British cities will find out on Tuesday which of them has been successful in being awarded the right to build the country's first "super-casino".

GlasgowNewcastleManchesterSheffieldCardiffGreenwichBlackpool

Originally the government said there would be up to 40 super-casinos but this number was cut - firstly to eight, and then to just one - in the face of heavy opposition.

The super-casino will have a minimum customer area of 5,000 square metres and up to 1,250 unlimited-jackpot slot machines.

Click on map to find out more about the rival bids:

BLACKPOOL

Seen as one of the frontrunners, Blackpool council officials say a super-casino would give the seaside town a vital economic boost and provide funds for the regeneration of the famous promenade and tram network.

The town has high levels of unemployment and some of the most deprived communities in the UK.

Artists impression of Blackpool's super-casino
An artists impression of how the casino might appear

A super-casino could attract up to 3,400 new jobs to the area, raise some 450m of capital investment and generate 96.4m per year for the region, councillors suggest.

The proposed complex would incorporate a 24-hour casino with 70 gaming tables and 2,500 slot machines and a 500-room hotel to accommodate visitors.

Polls show a high level of local support. Some 75% of the population are behind the plan according to SWR and Ipsos/Mori polls, while an online survey by local media gave a 91% approval rate.

The Campaign Against Super-Casino Expansion [Case] - a coalition of local and national organisations organised by Blackpool councillor Steven Bate - oppose the scheme however.

They warn that opening a super-casino in the midst of a deprived area where people are already more likely to be problem gamblers will deepen existing social problems.

CARDIFF

Cardiff's super-casino bid is linked to the city's plan for an 80-acre international sports village project located in the bay area.

The city council says that the casino itself would create 1,500 jobs out of an estimated 5,000 for the combined projects.

It says the casino is needed to ensure that the project completed in time for the 2012 London Olympics, when it hopes to be a host venue.

According to council estimates, the combined complex will generate some 265m for the local economy.

Opposition group Case argues that it is not clear how the regeneration of sports village area will translate into improvements for other parts of the city.

GLASGOW

There are four proposed sites for Glasgow's super-casino:

  • An area of former shipyards and warehouses on the River Clyde where a 250m development could be built.
  • The Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre [SECC] where a 162 million complex could be sited
  • Ibrox stadium, home of Rangers Football Club, which has been earmarked by the club and the Las Vegas Sands group for a 120 million development
  • St Enoch's East, a central site where a 130 million casino may be built close to the city's main shopping districts

When the advisory committee met in Glasgow, Major Ivor Telfor of the Salvation Army expressed concern that a casino's presence would contribute to the normalisation of gambling among young people.

He called for the award to go to the local authority which could demonstrate social responsibility.

More significantly though, a report from the Scottish Executive backed away from backing the bid and said it was up to councils to decide the pros and cons. Ministers were criticised for sitting on the fence.

GREENWICH, EAST LONDON

This bid would site a super-casino at the O2 - formerly the Millennium Dome - on the banks of the River Thames in south east London. Greenwich council say the proposal forms a key part of plans to regenerate the area.

The site lies at the heart of the Thames Gateway, Europe's largest regeneration programme. An extra 120,000 homes are planned for the area by 2016.

While some parts of Greenwich are prosperous, the borough also suffers from high levels of deprivation and above-average unemployment.

Super-casino opponents say Greenwich Council has not consulted local residents sufficiently.

Opposition group Case says that the level of detail presented about the application at two public meetings last year demonstrated that a great deal of planning and preparation had already taken place without any input from the consultation process.

MANCHESTER

Manchester would appoint an independent community trust to oversee its super-casino's workings and promises the "highest standards of social responsibility".

The proposed site is a run-down area of east Manchester, which would see a 265m investment and create 2,700 direct and indirect jobs

The complex would also house an entertainment arena, a swimming pool, an urban sports venue, restaurants, bars, a nightclub and a hotel.

Opponents say the casino is likely to increase levels of problem gambling in an already deprived area.

NEWCASTLE

Newcastle's proposed super-casino would form part of a large conference centre which local officials say is critical to the future development of the local economy.

Thousands of jobs would be created by the 143m scheme.

Newcastle City Council leader John Shipley said: "We have always made it clear that a regional conference centre would be an essential and integral part of any casino development that would bring huge economic benefits to the city region."

The centre would also host major scientific conferences linked to the Science City project.

Opposition to the plan focuses on fears that the likely siting of the super-casino near the city centre will have an adverse effect on local retailers.

SHEFFIELD

A super-casino could create 14,000 jobs over the next 20 years and generate some 213m in revenue in an area "ripe for regeneration" according to Sheffield City Council chief executive Sir Bob Kerslake.

Rival developers are eyeing three potential sites for the project, should Sheffield win.

Two are in the Lower Don Valley - one near to the Meadowhall shopping complex, the other close to the Don Valley athletics stadium - while the third is next to Sheffield United's Bramall Lane stadium

Local opposition has focused on problem-gambling issues and potential traffic congestion on nearby the M1 junction.






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