IT is a game of high stakes and one that could net them the jackpot.

A record number of bidders have confirmed that they will battle it out for the right to open a super casino in Southampton.

A total of seven applications have been received by the city council, the largest number submitted to any local authority.

Southampton is one of only eight councils that have been granted permission to open a large casino in the UK. Now the authority has revealed the firms who will bid to take on the licence.

As previously revealed by the Daily Echo the preferred site for the casino has so far been the Royal Pier Waterfront with both Grosvenor, who already operate a venue at Ocean Village, and Aspers already declaring their interest.

Companies which will also be vying for the right to run the casino now include Kymeira Casino Ltd and Genting Casinos UK Ltd which already runs a venue at Terminus Terrace in the city.

Global Gaming Ventures is the other operator to declare an interest, submitting two bids – one for the Royal Pier Waterfront site and another plan to build a casino as part of the new Watermark development at WestQuay.

Councillor Simon Letts, leader of Southampton City Council, pictured below left, said: “As the last authority in the UK to grant this type of licence, the interest in Southampton’s large casino licence has been substantial.

“This level of keen competition gives us the best opportunity to secure the right operator, for the right site to promote significant regeneration and, in turn, to improve the economic prospects of the city as a whole.”

The issue of super casinos has been a controversial one with critics claiming it could exacerbate gambling addiction problems but commerce leaders have roundly welcomed the process saying it would bring huge investment to the city.

The licence would allow an operator to build a casino housing up to 150 slot machines with jackpots of up to £4,000, and up to 30 tables for blackjack and poker. Regular casinos have a limit of 20 slot machines.