Manchester was this morning named as the best venue for the UK's first super casino in a surprise move.
The race to host the regional casino was widely thought to be between Blackpool and Greenwich, but the Casino Advisory Panel's (CAP) report to Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has recommended the east Manchester site.
The proposed location is at Sportcity in the Beswick area of Manchester, close to the City of Manchester Stadium, now used by Manchester City FC. It is a run-down area of east Manchester, which would see a £265m investment and create 2,700 direct and indirect jobs
The complex will also house a hotel, restaurants, bars, a nightclub, an entertainment arena, a swimming pool and an urban sports venue.
Professor Stephen Crow, chair of the panel, said: "All of the seven shortlisted proposals that we examined further had their merits in their own way, could be a good test of social impact of a casino, are in need of, and could benefit from regeneration, and showed evidence of willingness to license a casino.
According to Crow, Manchester represents a good place to test social impact and is an area in need of regeneration at least as much as any of the others observed.
Steve Weaver, chief executive of Blackpool Council, said the resort was "surprised and hugely disappointed by the Panel's recommendation but we are not giving up".
The CAP also announced the recommended venues for large and small casinos.
Great Yarmouth; Kingston-upon-Hull; Leeds; Middlesbrough; Milton Keynes; Newham; Solihull and Southampton.
Bath and North East Somerset; Dumfries and Galloway; East Lindsey; Luton; Scarborough; Swansea; Torbay and Wolverhampton.
by Daniel Thomas
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