Fight on Cards for first Super Casino

Rangers are facing stiff odds in their bid to build Britain’s first super casino.

The club want to create a Las Vegas-style gambling palace as part of a GBP 120million hotel complex at Ibrox.

But they face 26 rival bids to host the giant 24-hour casino, including others in Midlothian and West Dunbartonshire.

A panel of experts will produce a shortlist for the site within two months, before a final recommendation goes to Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell in December.

The winner, which will be allowed to run up to 1250 slot machines with unlimited prizes, will be named early next year.

Lancashire seaside resort Blackpool is favourite to be chosen.

Rangers‘ plans are for a casino with a full-sized sports pitch on the roof as part of a complex that would boast a club megastore, flats, shops, bars and restaurants.

The blueprint has already been given the green light by the city council.

Even if Glasgow is picked, Rangers face competition within the city from the Scottish Exhibition Conference Centre and developers at Glasgow Harbour.

In West Dunbartonshire, Bowling Harbour, near the Erskine Bridge, has put in a bid.

Midlothian Council wants a super casino at Straiton, south of the Edinburgh bypass, with a back-up site earmarked at Shawfair.

Professor Stephen Crow, chairman of the Casino Advisory Panel, said: „These proposals represent a lot of hard work by people who have prepared them.

„They all deserve nothing less than fair examination.“

Developers stress hundreds of jobs will be created wherever the casino is sited.

But the Salvation Army warns it will also create more gambling addicts.

Spokesman Major Bill Cochrane said: „It is likely to lead to a rise in problem gambling, which is far too high a price to pay for economic regeneration.

„Research from other countries shows that super casinos can lead to a range of social problems, including increased debt, loss of employment, family breakdown and increased crime.“

The Tories said ministers must stick to a single super casino before allowing more.

Another 41 towns, including Falkirk, Paisley and Stranraer, are in the running to build 16 smaller casinos.