Plans for a Birmingham sports village to be open in time for the 2012 Olympics could become a "top priority" for the council, the city's regeneration boss said yesterday.

Coun Ken Hardeman was speaking after it emerged that Solihull had failed in its bid to get back on the regional casino shortlist.

Under the proposals, a new casino at the borough's National Exhibition Centre would have unlocked cash to build a new 'super stadium' at a site in Saltley, Birmingham.

However, now the Casino Advisory Panel has decided against Solihull, Birmingham can press ahead with its own casino scheme based on a similar plan first mooted by Birmingham City FC.

Blues had hoped to build a 55,000 seat multi-sport complex called the City of Birmingham Stadium, which was funded by an on-site casino.

Council chiefs voted against those plans earlier this year and decided to back the NEC's proposals.

Coun Hardeman (Con Brandwood), said the Government may decide to launch a fresh bidding round for a super casino licence after the pilot scheme is given the go-ahead.

He said: "It is regrettable that the evidence submitted was considered to be not strong enough.

"But I believe we should be looking at the opportunities that further regional casinos might come in.

"I shall be asking colleagues to back a Birmingham scheme for a sports complex. We do not have a plan at the moment, but I have been involved in talks with various groups who are looking at a scheme for the site in Saltley.

"I believe we should explore more fully the concept of a sports village, particularly in view of the opportunities that could arise in the run-up to the Olympics.

"I am hoping this will become a top priority for Birmingham in coming years."

Coun Hardeman said the scheme could be up and running in time for the 2012 games.

Solihull council had urged the CAP to reconsider its bid for a Las Vegas-style destination at the NEC after it failed to make the original shortlist in June.

The local authority learned recently that it had been unsuccessful.

Council leader Coun Ted Richards (Con Castle Bromwich) said he was pleased that the NEC is still being considered for a large casino, but he admitted regenerative benefits coming from this smaller scheme would not be as widespread.

Coun Richards said: "We are hugely disappointed by this decision. We still believe that our bid was a strong one and that if successful would have been a major boost to social regeneration and economic development for Solihull and the regional area.

"It is a shame that the panel have not recognised this."

The NEC marketing and communications director Debbie Smith said the complex had been developing "other opportunities" since it launched its casino appeal.

Ms Smith said "a broader destination concept" was being developed which could include the large casino.

She added: "Given the progress of the whole regional casino debate this news, whilst disappointing, is not unexpected.

"We have not been given any rationale for the decision. However we are still short-listed for one of the eight large casino licences and recently submitted additional information for that process."