Mancs super-casino win defies the odds
By James Wilson and Roger Blitz
Published: January 30 2007 11:08 | Last updated: January 30 2007 21:52
It was an object lesson in the perils of gambling. The suprise announcement that Manchester is to be the site of Britain’s first super-casino shocked everyone, including the bookies, who were offering odds of 16-1 against the city winning the licence.
Even Sir Richard Leese, the leader of Manchester council, was taken aback: “Perhaps we did not expect it but we think we deserved it. There is nothing wrong with having a pleasant surprise.”
The new casino will bring 2,700 jobs and an unquantifiable economic regeneration windfall to the city.
The decision will spark a bidding scramble by international gaming companies to win the operating licence that Manchester will be able to award.
However, a previous council decision to designate Kerzner International as its preferred operator is likely to raise fears that a new bidding round – required by law – may be skewed. Such concerns were dismissed by the city.
Manchester had not even been the first choice in its own region; the North West Development Agency sided with Blackpool. But Blackpool, like the other supposed leading contender – Millennium Dome in Greenwich – found itself out of luck and out of pocket.
No one in the leisure industry predicted the outcome, which was announced at 11am yesterday by the casino advisory panel, headed by Prof Stephen Crow. But Manchester’s win confirms its view of itself as the UK’s trendiest and most successful regional capital.
Manchester’s win confirms its view of itself as the UK’s trendiest and most successful regional capital.