Manchester advertising and media agencies could be in for a windfall bonanza if – as seems likely – the city’s bid for the licence to operate the UK’s only “super casino” is approved by Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.
The Casino Advisory Panel – the body sifting through the applications from local authorities for one of the 17 licences on offer – recommended Manchester as the site for the single regional casino (or super casino).
Some experts believe that the gambling industry could spend an extra £350m a year on advertising, once the 17 casinos are in operation.
The news that Manchester is likely to win the super casino came as a shock to Blackpool and Greenwich, which had been widely thought to be the two most likely candidates for the regional casino. It is not yet known whether Blackpool and Greenwich will challenge the recommendation.
The Department of Media, Culture and Sport changed the rules on partners after the row erupted last year: all the licence winners will now be required to put the various required services out to tender. Before that ruling, AEG, the entertainment company owned by US billionaire Philip Anschutz which owns the O2 Centre, as the dome is now known, had been Greenwich’s preferred partner, and would probably have brought in Kerzner International to run the casino operations.
Las Vegas Sands, Kerzner International and MGM Mirage were linked to separate schemes in Glasgow, while Kerzner was also Manchester’s preferred partner. Ladbrokes was linked to Blackpool, while Aspers was linked to Cardiff.