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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 March 2006, 07:29 GMT
Olympians at super casino launch
Image of proposed Cardiff casino
The casino is a cornerstone of the planned sport village development
Cardiff Council is to launch its bid for a regional "super casino," sited at its planned 700m international sports village development.

The city has said it needs the casino in order to finish the sports village in time to attract teams preparing for the 2012 London Olympics.

It is hoped the village will have more than three million visitors a year.

Six former Olympians will be at the St David's Day launch to support Cardiff's bid to become a 2012 Olympic host city.

'Crucial stage'

The recently-passed Gambling Act allows for only one regional super-casino, but Cardiff and other councils are calling for the number to be increased to the eight originally suggested.

Council leader Rodney Berman said the casino bid launch was a "crucial stage in the development of the international sports village".

The council said the sports village can only be completed in time for the London Olympics if Cardiff is chosen as the venue to build a regional casino.

It said the 80-acre sports development would be "one of the most exciting sports and tourist venues in Europe, based around the themes of water, snow and ice".

The plans include a 50m swimming pool, an indoor snow facility, a 4,000-seat multi-purpose arena and hotels bars and restaurants.

'Fantastic opportunity'

The council said the venue would attract 3.5m visitors a year, bringing 270m into the local economy and creating around 5,000 jobs.

The UK/Australian firm Aspers has been named by Cardiff Council as the preferred operator the plans for the venue go ahead.

Gambling chips
Cardiff is one of a number of UK cities bidding for a regional licence

Mr Berman said: "A casino will help maximise the potential of the ISV as a world class sporting and leisure facility and give Cardiff a fantastic opportunity to play a big part in the 2012 Olympics."

Welsh Paralympian Dame Tanni Grey Thompson said: "I really hope that Cardiff can play its part in the 2012 Olympics.

"The international sports village is an exciting project and it would be fantastic for the city and Wales if it is built in time so that athletes from around the world can converge here.

"Anything that puts Wales on the map makes me extremely proud."

Olympians Sir Steve Redgrave, Colin Jackson, Lynn Davies and Jamie Baulch will also be at the launch to support Cardiff's involvement in the 2012 Olympics.

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