Twelve in the shake-up for super casino

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The Independent Online

The Casino Advisory Panel is expected to reveal this week that up to 12 regions have made it on to a shortlist for the one super casino licence.

The panel received 27 applications for the sole gaming house - dubbed the "super" casino - permitted under the new Gambling Act.

The advisers have to decide which region will get the casino as well as those that will receive the eight large and eight small casinos also allowed under the Act. It will make its decision by the end of the year.

But the panel has confirmed that it intends to bring out a provisional shortlist this Wednesday, which will narrow down the list.

It is thought the frontrunners will include Blackpool, the Millennium Dome in London, Glasgow, Birmingham, Coventry and Manchester.

A spokeswoman for the panel would not discuss who was on the shortlist or how many regions were on it.

She said: "We had 27 applications for the regional casino and we are not going to be shortlisting 27.

"There are going to be people who are disappointed: you cannot avoid that."

She did confirm, though, that the list would be provisional, allowing for possible appeals before the final list was confirmed in the summer.

The race for the super casino has become a hot topic across the UK. Local authorities are keen to secure it as most believe a leisure facility on this scale will provide a major boost to local economies. Blackpool is still seen as the favoured candidate to get the main licence.

Several regions have criticised the Government's decision - taken just before passage of the Gambling Act - to cut the number of super casinos from eight to one.

Shortlists are also due out for the large and small casinos.

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