Safe bet: Manchester has been given the sole available regional casino license in the Final Report of the Casino Advisory PanelManchester is the shock choice as the site for the country’s first super-casino.

The city was thought to have been lagging behind frontrunners Blackpool and the former Millennium Dome site in Greenwich, London, which were widely believed to be a in a two-horse race to be chosen for the development.

However, the final report of the independent Casino Advisory Panel, released this morning, recommended Manchester as the site of the UK’s first regional casino.

CAP chairman Professor Stephen Crow was “won over by how well the Manchester proposal delivered against the full range of requirements set out in the criteria against which the judgments were made”.

The licence granted is to build a venue for up to 1,250 unlimited-jackpot fruit machines.

Crow added Manchester was also thought to be a good place to test the social impact of the super-casino concept, which has already caused alarm over the possibility of increased gambling addiction and the social problems that accompany it.

Professor Crow said: “Manchester has a catchment area for a casino second only to that of London, and it is an area in need of regeneration at least as much as any of the others we observed.

“Indeed, the city has the greatest need in terms of multiple deprivation of all the proposals that were before us.”

Large casino licences were granted to Great Yarmouth, Kingston-upon-Hull, Leeds, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Newham in east London, Solihull and Southampton.

Smaller casino licences were granted to Bath and North East Somerset, Dumfries and Galloway, East Lindsey, Luton, Scarborough, Swansea, Torbay and Wolverhampton.