Birmingham's chances of securing a regional casino are set to take a knock today with the launch of a rival multi-million pound bid in Coventry.
Executives from an American gaming company and Coventry City Council will unveil plans for what they hope will become the UK's first super-casino at the Ricoh Arena, home of Coventry City Football Club.
In an embarrassing setback to Birmingham, the Ricoh bid has the full backing of Coventry City Council and is expected to gain the support of local MPs. The venue could open by the end of 2006.
Birmingham City Council, meanwhile, remains undecided about whether to support one of two bids for a casino - either in Saltley at a new Birmingham City FC stadium or at the NEC in Bickenhill.
The Government, which is expected to make a decision on the site of Britain's first super-casino within 18 months, has said it will place particular emphasis on local opinion.
Ministers are unlikely to approve more than one super-casino in the West Midlands.
Isle of Capri Casinos, which has teamed up with the Ricoh Arena and Coventry Council, is expected to outline the economic regeneration benefits of a casino in north Coventry, an area of high unemployment and social deprivation.
The backers of the Ricoh casino, who have dubbed themselves the Coventry Now Campaign, are urging Coventry people to write in support of the scheme to MPs, Government Ministers and the Deputy Prime Minister.
A website enabling people to pledge their support will also be launched.