Leaders of Coventry Council have formally submitted an application to the Government for permission to open the country's first super-casino - and challenged Birmingham to pull out of the race.

Cabinet members said a 90,000 square foot building at the Ricoh Stadium, new home of Coventry City FC, which is already built and could open for business by the end of the year, was the most obvious location for an American-style gaming house.

Council leader Ken Taylor urged Birmingham and Soli-hull to give up all ideas of developing their own super-casino and to throw their weight behind Coventry instead.

Coun Taylor (Con Earlsdon) said it was "crazy" that Birmingham had not yet decided whether to back a casino proposal at the National Exhibition Centre or an alternative plan by Birmingham City FC.

Although Coun Taylor made it clear he did not expect his advice to be taken, he added that the best opportunity for the West Midlands to be chosen for a super-casino lay with the Coventry option.

He is leading a cross-party campaign to convince the Government to approve eight super-casinos, rather than just one, and has also written to the Conservative Party leader, David Cameron, asking for the support of Tory MPs.

Coun Taylor said the Coventry scheme was far more than a "Las Vegas-style" casino. It was an entertainment zone that would regenerate a deprived area.

Coun John Mutton (Lab Binley), leader of the Labour opposition on Coventry City Council, said he hoped West Midlands council leaders could put pressure on Birmingham and Solihull to withdraw.

The prospect of three casino bids going forward - Coventry, the NEC and Birmingham City - would damage the region's chances, he claimed.

Coun Mutton likened the casino race to the "fiasco" surrounding the campaign for a national stadium, which also saw Coventry and Birmingham at loggerheads.

"We could end up getting nothing in the West Midlands, so I say to Birmingham and Solihull, pull out now," he added.

Coun Val Stone (Lab) added: "We have got to keep on plugging the fact that our casino is built. It is not pie in the sky. It is being fitted out at this very moment."

The Coventry casino will be managed by the American corporation Isle of Capri and will open in any case on a smaller scale even if the city is not chosen to host the first super-casino.

A cabinet report by the head of city development John McGuigan said that Coventry could open a super-casino at least five years sooner than any other town or city because the infrastructure was already in place.

Mr McGuigan added: "We believe that the Coventry scheme, more than any other, can best meet the Advisory Panel's criteria."

The market in the West Midlands was big enough to support at least four super-casinos, he said.

However, the Government had caused "unnecessary concern and competition" between local authorities by limiting the number of super-casinos to a pilot study of one.

Mr McGuigan's report went on: "Notwithstanding all the public hype about regional casinos, the IoC casino at the Ricoh Arena is the only venue of its nature in the country. The IoC scheme exists in a physical form and work has just started on the extensive fit-out to the very large building.

"No other scheme is anywhere near as advanced."

A super-casino would create 1,000 jobs and bring about £100 million of knock-on regeneration to a deprived part of north Coventry. ..SUPL: