It is an odds-on bet that Birmingham will submit a bid to the Government for permission to open a super-casino, according to the politician in charge of the city's regeneration portfolio.

Councillor Ken Hardeman insisted last night that there was an overwhelming majority among each of the three main political parties on the city council in favour of pressing forward with an extensive gambling complex.

***

Do you agree with plans for a super-casino in Birmingham? Click here to send us an email

***

He also disclosed that nine out of ten cabinet members are backing a super-casino, with only Leisure spokesman John Alden against the idea.

A council debate next month is certain to embrace the principle of a casino for Birmingham, although members will steer clear of selecting a specific site.

Lobbying for two alternatives - a new Birmingham City Football Club stadium and casino at Saltley and a casino and leisure complex at the National Exhibition Centre - is intensifying.

Birmingham City FC and its partner, Las Vegas Sands, are preparing a presentation which they will put to the council at the end of September.

Earlier this week the NEC board met to discuss its plan. Coun Hardeman said the failure of the cabinet two weeks ago to reach a decision, following Coun Alden ' s announcement that he would not support a casino bid, should not be viewed as significant.

He added: "We always knew there would be some people, although not many, on the council who would view a casino as taboo in every sense. But the executive have agreed in principle that Birmingham should be up there and bidding for a casino."

Coun Hardeman said the Birmingham City scheme could release up to 80 acres for regeneration in an economically downtrodden area. But he conceded that Government fears about placing casinos close to housing could push the council towards backing the NEC.