30/01/2007

Manchester wins race for first UK super-casino

Manchester is the surprise winner in the bid for the license for Britain's first Las Vegas-style super-casino.

The verdict comes as a shock, as Blackpool and London's former Millennium Dome were the favourite locations for the super-casino with bookmakers.

Stephen Crow, chairman of the independent Casino Advisory Panel, said that they had been impressed by Manchester's proposal, its "very thorough" consultation with the local community and the way that it tackled questions of problem gambling.

The organisers of the city's bid said that the super-casino would regenerate a poor area in east Manchester, promising a £265 million investment and 2,700 new jobs.

The casino will be located at Sportcity in the Beswick area, close to the City of Manchester Stadium.

The venue will be able to house up to 1,250 unlimited jackpot gaming machines. The site will also contain an entertainment complex, housing a range of facilities including a multi-purpose arena, restaurants, bars, a nightclub and a hotel.

However, the decision will have to be accepted by Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell and then voted on in Parliament.

The Casino Advisory Panels also granted eight licenses for large casinos in Great Yarmouth, Hull, Leeds, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Newham, Solihull and Southampton.

Eight licenses were also granted for small casinos in Bath and North East Somerset, Dumfries and Galloway, East Lindsey, Luton, Scarborough, Swansea, Torbay and Wolverhampton.

(KMcA/SP)

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