Date:Saturday May 27 2006
Blues could still be in with a chance of landing the Las Vegas style Casino, despite Birmingham City Council's decision to not back the plan, and favour the doomed NEC bid.
Cabinet member for Regeneration, Councillor Ken Hardeman, stated today that the Government could in fact extend the number of regional casinos and that the council was looking at a proposal for Birmingham aswell as the already turned down NEC bid.
However, Councillor Hardeman was also insistent that if such a bid took place it would not be for a specific site, it would simply be a generic bid to benefit Birmingham as a whole, and in such no specific site would be identified upfront.
He further stated that should the club wish to resubmit the paperwork, there is no reason why the council wouldn't take a fresh look at what they wrongly decided against previously.
An anonymous source close to the super-casino bidding process (always anonymous eh!) apparently said that any such bid would almost certainly end up being the Blues' stadium casino option.
It appears the council realise their cockup in backing the NEC bid, and that the decision has had disasterous consequences for the region as Birmingham is now not represented in the initial bids.
Councillor Hardeman said:
'What's happened has happened and we cannot re-write that. We felt the NEC bid, in economic terms, was more substantial, but this has not been accepted for the regional casino.
'There could be an opportunity for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to increase the number of regional casinos.
'We need to look at whether the council could and should submit a bid but not state a specific site. As other cities did, and as the rules stated, you just simply agree that Birmingham could tick all the boxes in terms of regeneration and not state a specific site.
'We should now build up a proposal in case they are to consider more than one super-casino, and my guess is that that will be the case. We should be bidding for one of those options not in the name of Solihull but in the name of Birmingham and I will be trying to bring that about.'
Blues managing director Karren Brady said: 'I am happy that the council are finally seeing sense, but the sad fact is that they had to be proved wrong for them to do it. I said right from day one that they should have been applying for the casino on a non-specific site basis and then spend their energies on who got it afterwards.
'The city council were foolish and backing the NEC cost them the chance of having the casino in Birmingham.'
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