Eight regions on shortlist for Las Vegas-style complex

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The Independent Online

The Casino Advisory Panel's shortlist of eight regions bidding to host Britain's first Las Vegas-style super-casino was met with cries of outrage from Coventry and Birmingham, both omitted, but the rest of the list was largely as expected.

Blackpool, Wembley Stadium, Cardiff, Glasgow, the Millennium Dome, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield are still in line to host the one super-casino permitted under the new Gambling Act, with up to 1,250 slot machines and unlimited jackpots. Blackpool, Glasgow, the Millennium Dome in Greenwich and Manchester are thought to be the frontrunners. The list was drawn up from 27 applications made by councils across the country.

The list is provisional, allowing for potential appeals before the final list is confirmed in the summer. The panel is then expected to issue a final recommendation on the new giant gambling venue before the end of the year. It also announced a shortlist of 31 proposals for eight large and eight small new casinos yesterday. Local authorities are keen to secure a casino licence as they hope that the leisure facilities will provide a major boost to local economies.

The betting industry remains hopeful that the Government will move towards permitting more than one super-casino and could eventually allow between five and eight such giant venues to be built. The Government had initially proposed eight Las Vegas-style casinos but was forced to cut the number to one after an outcry from gambling addiction charities and Labour backbenchers.

Ken Taylor, the leader of Coventry City Council, said he would challenge the list. He said: "We're very disappointed. It was going to generate a lot of development in an area of severe deprivation and create 1,800 jobs. We'll obviously be challenging it." He said he was hoping the Casino Advisory Panel would extend the shortlist.

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