Local authorities that put forward proposals to build the UK's first "supercasino" have today found out if they made it through to the second phase of the bidding process.
The eight councils named on the shortlist by the Casino Advisory Panel are the favourites Blackpool, as well as Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and the London boroughs of Brent and Greenwich.
As many as 60 councils tendered bids to host new casinos, following legislation that relaxes controls over gambling establishments.
Previously, casinos were limited to 53 permitted areas with populations over 125,000, but the new gambling bill means all local authorities can make applications to open a casino.
Along with the one supercasino – complete with up to 1,250 slot machines and unlimited jackpots – the government is planning to give the green light to 17 other new casino projects.
The major shock following the announcement was the omission of a contender from the Midlands, with the Birmingham NEC's proposal rejected.
Supporters of the new government legislation allowing supercasinos believe that a giant, regional casino project would support urban regeneration by creating jobs and encouraging tourism.
But opponents are worried that more casinos will mean an increased incidence of gambling addiction.
Research seen by the BBC this week showed that the number of women addicted to gambling in the UK was on the rise.
The advice charity GamCare said that women made up nine per cent of its clients in the second half of last year, up from just two per cent in 2000.
There are currently 134 casinos operating in Britain, each with up to 20 slot machines and limited jackpots.