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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 January 2007, 10:17 GMT
'Super-casino' site to be named
Artist's impression of the planned casino and conference quarter, Blackpool

The site of the first "super-casino" in Britain is due to be announced - with Blackpool and Greenwich the favourites.

Seven areas have been vying for the right to build a venue with a licence for up to 1,250 unlimited-jackpot gaming machines.

Glasgow, Newcastle, Cardiff, Sheffield and Manchester are also shortlisted, with the decision due at 1100 GMT.

Ministers say the casino will boost regeneration, but opponents argue it will lead to more problem gambling.

Super-casino: up to 1,250 unlimited-jackpot slot machines; hotels, restaurants, bars, conference facilities and live entertainment areas; bingo and betting allowed; minimum area of 5,000 sq m; only one to be licensed in the UK
Large casinos: up to 150 slot machines with a maximum jackpot of 4,000; minimum area of 1,500 sq m; bingo and betting allowed; licences for eight across the UK
Small casinos: up to 80 slot machines with a maximum jackpot of 4,000; minimum area of 750 sq m; Betting, but not bingo, permitted; licences for eight across the UK

The Greenwich bid, based on the former Millennium Dome, attracted criticism last year.

It emerged that Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott and some of his civil servants had stayed at owner Philip Anschutz's US ranch, and not declared the visit until 11 months later.

Mr Prescott denied allegations he may have used his influence to try to get the Dome a casino licence, insisting he had no say on the issue.

Nick Raynsford, Labour MP for Greenwich and Woolwich, said there had been an "absolutely appalling campaign of vilification" against the Dome.

"We have the right location, it is a building which is going to be an entertainments complex which will involve a lot of other activities," he said.

"The Dome is very well placed as a separate destination to avoid the problem of people just coming in off the street who are likely to be the main purveyors of problem gambling."

'Social deprivation'

With a customer area of 5,000 square metres, the winning venue will include a hotel, conference facilities, restaurants, bars and live entertainment venue.

The independent Casino Advisory Panel, appointed by the government, was told to look at the possible effect on employment and social deprivation.

The Dome
The Dome's bid has faced controversy

On Monday the Centre for Cities - part of the Institute for Public Policy Research think tank - said it backed Blackpool, rather than Greenwich's Millennium Dome.

But it said a casino could drain money away from local non-gambling businesses and lead to an increase in problem gambling.

Greenwich already stood to gain almost 8,000 jobs as a result of the 2012 Olympics and had a variety of other regeneration options, the report added.

Super-casinos are a really great way for people with more money than sense to correct that balance
Michael Holding, Crawley

Alan Cavill, head of corporate policy at Blackpool Council, said a super-casino could "turn around" the town's "long and slow decline".

"Blackpool's still a resort, it's not dead and we will carry on if we don't get the casino but we do really believe that this casino-led regeneration is going to work for us," he told BBC News.

No bingo

The government had originally planned for between 20 and 40 regional - or "super" - casinos, with the aim of encouraging regeneration in run-down seaside resorts.

But, in the face of Conservative and Liberal Democrat opposition, the number was reduced to eight and then one, which will act as a "test" site.

The advisory panel will also announce the venues for eight "large" and eight "small" casinos elsewhere in Britain.

The "large" casinos will be a minimum of 1,500 square metres and have up to 150 gaming machines with a jackpot of up to 4,000, with bingo and betting permitted.

The "small" ones will be a minimum of half that size, with as many as 80 machines with a 4,000 jackpot and betting - but there will be no bingo.

  • The shortlist for the large and small casino locations is: Bath and North East Somerset, Bournemouth, Brighton, Canterbury, Chelmsford, Dartford, Dudley, Dumfries and Galloway, East Lindsey, Great Yarmouth, Hastings, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Luton, Mansfield, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Newham, North East Lincolnshire, Peterborough, Restormel, Scarborough, Sefton, Solihull, Southampton, South Tyneside, Swansea, Thurrock, Torbay and Wolverhampton.

    A look at two super-casino contenders

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