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Last Updated: Monday, 18 October, 2004, 07:00 GMT 08:00 UK
Casino deal to create 1,000 jobs
A roulette wheel
Leeds United is set to win a 5m jackpot from the casino deal
Britain's biggest casino operator has unveiled plans to build a 125m gambling and leisure complex next to Leeds United's Elland Road ground.

Stanley Leisure said the deal would create more than 1,000 jobs.

And the debt-laden football club will get a 5m windfall from the sale of the seven-acre site if proposed reforms to Britain's gambling laws go through.

The complex will include a 150,000 sq ft casino, a hotel, restaurants, bars, leisure facilities and designer shops.

'Best location'

Stanley Leisure chief executive Bob Wiper said: "We are delighted to announce the development of this exceptional site in Leeds, which we believe is the best location for a casino in the north of England.

"We plan to build an exciting casino complex to rival any other development in the UK, which will be a huge entertainment attraction of which the region can be proud."

A statement from the Leeds board said: "This deal is yet another significant stepping stone towards reducing the club's debts.

"We have now received 5m from Stanley Leisure, which means we have managed to reduce Leeds United's debt burden from 103m the day the current board took over, to just over 30m."

It is expected that the project will be completed by the end of 2007, subject to planning and deregulation.

The Leeds project will be the company's second regional casino, following in the footsteps of its Star City casino in Birmingham, currently the UK's largest.

The cash injection will reduce Leeds United's debts of 36m and follows the sale-leaseback agreement of its Thorp Arch training ground for 4.2m last week.

The football club is the third in Yorkshire to strike a deal with casino developers.

Las Vegas Sands is planning an 80m complex at Sheffield United's Bramall Lane ground.

It also plans to build a 65m casino next to Hull City's KC Stadium.

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