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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 September 2006, 07:53 GMT 08:53 UK
Sports village jobs in spotlight
Image of proposed Cardiff casino
A heritage centre, hotel, and conference facilities are planned
Claims that 5,000 jobs would be created by a combined super-casino and sports village development in Cardiff have been questioned by an academic.

Professor John Lovering has queried the 5,000 jobs figure at a hearing to determine the casino's site, saying the true figure would be a few hundred.

But Cardiff council stands by the figure and estimates 265m coming into the local economy each year.

Leader Rodney Berman said the council was "confident" about its bid.

We were delighted that we made it onto the shortlist
Rodney Berman, Cardiff Council leader

Discussions about possible jobs were heard at a Casino Advisory Panel hearing, held in Cardiff on Friday.

Cardiff Council put forward their bid for a regional super-casino, which they say in an intrinsic part of the development of the International Sports Village.

The panel, headed by Professor Stephen Crowe, is meeting at various venues around the UK.

It will choose one venue from a shortlist of cities including Cardiff, Blackpool, London and Glasgow.

Professor Lovering, an expert in urban development at Cardiff University, was one of a number of guests and representatives from organisations which gave their views to the panel.

During the hearing, he said: "That has been a certain degree of a lack of rigour or shall I say, sleight of hand, in terms of the figures on job creation."

He added that the considerable Muslim population of the Grangetown ward, where the development would be located, would have nothing to do with the casino as gambling is forbidden by the Koran.

Acknowledging the Muslim population's aversion to gambling, the council's corporate director Tom Morgan said he envisaged the casino development's job creation would create vacancies in other sectors that they could fill.

He added: "Cardiff is ready now."

'Opportunity'

Cardiff Council said it welcomed the opportunity to put its case at the hearing.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Berman said Cardiff has an "outstanding track record" of delivering major regeneration projects such as the Millennium Stadium and the Wales Millennium Centre.

He said: "The international sports village adds to all of this and will give Cardiff the prestige and profile to continue to attract visitors from around the world.

"We were delighted that we made it onto the shortlist and welcome opportunities to highlight the unique case which we believe the city has made."

Cardiff council say their bid is tied to its sports village development in Cardiff Bay, and has said it needs the casino to finish the project in time for the 2012 London Olympics, when it hopes to be a host venue.




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