Southampton leisure bosses have not given up hope of bringing a Las Vegas-style super casino to the city, the Daily Echo can reveal.
Civic leaders have confirmed they have applied to the government for permission to build a giant gaming house.
Southampton is one of 47 local authorities across the country applying for the licence but the move has prompted speculation about where a giant casino could be built.
There have also been calls for civic leaders to reconsider their original proposals for the West Quay 3 site.
In October last year, Southampton was forced to abandon a £250m project to build an arena and ice rink at West Quay.
The project would have been paid for by US gaming giant, Ameristar, with funding generated from a so-called super casino, but civic leaders were forced to abandon their plans when the government cut the number of licences it was prepared to grant.
Ministers have now stated they may increase the number of licences – if there is strong enough interest in Parliament.
Meanwhile, Gosport Borough Council is keen to apply for either a large casino, offering up to 150 one-armed bandits, or a smaller casino with 80 machines.
The news comes just days after the Daily Echo revealed cruising giant Carnival was holding secret discussions with civic leaders about siting its new headquarters at the West Quay site.
The project would help to pay for a scaled-down arena and Olympic-sized ice rink but that has raised doubts about whether there is enough room if all the projects are given the go-ahead.
City council Conservative group leader, Councillor Royston Smith, demanded civic leaders „come clean“ over where the new casino could be sited.
He said: „We welcome Carnival coming to the city but if we are applying for a regional licence as well you have to ask where they are going to put it.“
Meanwhile, the chairman of Southampton’s ice dance and figure skating club, Kerry Payne, said the council „needed to get its act together“.
He added: „Councillors are the only people who can put an ice rink plan together. If the council decides to get a casino, I can’t see why it can’t revert to its original plan.“
City council leader, Councillor Adrian Vinson, confirmed Southampton had put in a licence application but he would not be drawn on where it would be built.
He said: „We have registered our interest. At the moment, the government’s position is that there will be only one licence but they have also indicated that might be open to review.
„We have taken this action because of the potential to enable major regeneration schemes, including the provision of assets that could have a valuable effect on our future.“