Trio interested in running casino - Tuesday 3rd of March 2009

AT LEAST three operators have expressed an interest in opening a major new casino in Hull.

As the Mail exclusively revealed in December, one of Europes biggest casino companies has already gone public over its aim to secure a large casino licence in the city.

Apollo Casino Resorts wants to open a £25m leisure complex in the proposed Manor Mill development next to Drypool Bridge in the city centre.

Now, Hull City Council leader Councillor Carl Minns has revealed he has received three separate letters of interest from potential casino operators keen to open a venue in Hull.

Speaking at the councils housing and regeneration scrutiny commission, he said: "Whatever my own personal feelings about casinos, this council has a statutory duty to ensure this licence is issued.

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we have the power to do so, I believe we should get on and issue it."

Hull was one of a handful of cities given a variety of new casino licences by the Government last year as part of new gambling legislation.

Under the legislation, so-called large casino licences such as the one in Hull will allow a single venue with up to 150 slot machines and £4,000 jackpots.

The council has yet to announce how it intends to invite official applications for the licence.

However, the Mail understands council officials have been working closely with their counterparts in other local authorities, where new licensing powers have also been granted, to devise a co-ordinated approach.

According to the councils forward plan, the procedure for selecting a casino operator is due to be discussed by senior cabinet councillors next month.

Government ministers have made it clear they want to see any new casino developments linked to wider regeneration initiatives.

Under the Apollo proposal, the companys casino would be part of a wider leisure development including up to five new restaurants.

Altogether, it would cover the lower floors of a high-rise block currently being reserved for a 185-room hotel.

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