BUSINESS leaders in Middlesbrough yesterday gave their backing to plans for a super casino which will bring up to 4,000 jobs.

Plans for the £150m investment were outlined to more than 40 firms attending the North East Chamber of Commerce's (NECC) Middlesbrough committee meeting at the town's Thistle Hotel.

Company bosses heard of the benefits Middlesbrough Council predicts the casino would bring, and also from Tees Valley Regeneration (TVR), which hopes to locate the complex on Middlehaven.

Those present voted in favour of the council's efforts to win the sole regional casino licence the Government has up for grabs.

Joanne Fryett, NECC Tees Valley policy manager, said: "The potential to bring so many jobs and that level of investment is a major attraction for businesses in Middlesbrough and the wider Tees Valley."

Members attending the event were concerned that, with a decision not likely until the end of 2007 at the earliest, the casino was not the sole driver for the regeneration of the Middlehaven site. Reassurance was given by TVR that back-up plans were in place.