Firms miss out as Manchester wins race for super-casino

Manchester’s winning bid to house the UK’s first ‘super-casino’ has left a slew of firms, including Clifford Chance, Denton Wilde Sapte (DWS) and Norton Rose, out in the cold.

The Casino Advisory Panel selected the City of Manchester as its preferred location last Tuesday (30 January) in a shock decision. It finished ahead of favoured bidders Blackpool and Greenwich, the latter of which had hoped to host the super-casino in the former Millennium Dome.

Blackpool Council manager of legal services Christine Baines had instructed Clifford Chance head of environment Brian Hall as external counsel to advise on its bid.

The Dome bid had involved a joint venture between Kerzner International, a longstanding client of Norton Rose, and AEG Worldwide, with DWS providing the planning advice on the application.

Manchester had been handling the legal aspects of its application in-house with a legal services division that is undergoing a structural review.

Nabarro Nathanson was an early casualty in the race when Brent Council withdrew its bid after the Tories took power in last year’s elections. Brent had submitted a bid involving the Quintain-owned site next to Wembley Stadium. Nabarros is a long-term adviser to Quintain.

Eight councils across the UK were shortlisted as sites for the all-day Las Vegas-style gambling palace, which under the new Gambling Act will be allowed to occupy a minimum space of 5,000 square metres and that will include some 1,250 slot machines, some boasting a jackpot of up to £1m.