Last year's Gambling Bill was severely watered down to allow the building of only one super-casino after the Government succumbed to protests against proposals to allow an unlimited number.
Blackpool and London are frontrunners to host the first such complex. However, Aspinalls, like other operators, is hoping the Government and other stakeholders can be persuaded of the case to build more. The Cardiff and Middlesbrough complexes would trade under the brand name Aspers.
QBO Bell Pottinger managing director David Wilson said: 'Our brief together with Bell Pottinger Public Affairs is to raise the profile of Aspinalls and get a groundswell of support in the regions.' It will stress the regeneration and job creation benefits of the casinos, and attempt to face down critics. Aspinall has claimed the Cardiff development would contribute £60m to the local economy, with the Middlesbrough casino part of a 7,000-seat indoor arena.
BPPA no longer works for Ameristar Casinos. Agency MD Peter Bingle said the brief had 'run its course' because of the US operator's failure to win any of the local competitions.