30/08/2006

Super-casino bidding process begins

An independent panel has begun the process to select the site of the UK's first super-casino.

Seven possible locations are being considered for the location of the Las Vegas-style casino.

US company AEG, which wants to build the casino at the Millennium Dome, is reported to be the favourite to secure the license for the super-casino.

However, there has been considerable controversy over their bid after it emerged that Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott stayed at the ranch of AEG's owner Philip Anschutz.

However, Professor Stephen Crow, chairman of the Casino Advisory Panel, stressed that the controversy would not affect the selection process.

Speaking at the first of a series of public hearings in central London , Professor Crow stressed that Mr Prescott had no influence in the panel's decision and said that the panel had been selected by Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell.

However, speaking to BBC Radio 4's 'Today' programme earlier on Tuesday, Professor Crow admitted that Mr Prescott's meetings with Mr Anschutz's could "complicate" things, because they had led to lots of "silly stories".

However, he dismissed Conservative claims that the whole process was "mired in confusion".

Only one super-casino will be permitted under the terms of the Gambling Act 2005.

The other towns which are in the running to host the super-casino are Blackpool, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield.

(KMcA/EF)

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