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Where's the public money?

You advocate public investment rather than a new supercasino as the most appropriate basis for regeneration (NCE 28 February).

Both public and private investment are required; and these must be in tune with each other and suited to the particular needs of the area in need of regeneration.

The idea of a casino complex for destination gaming as part of resort generation was developed in Blackpool in the 1990s. This was part of a wider scheme with public investment in infrastructure, public realm improvements and training and skills development.

However, once the casino idea was processed by the central bureaucracy we ended up with the supercasino licence being proposed for Manchester where, at an inner city location, it could do the most harm (but this would be easier to measure), rather than Blackpool, where it would do the most good.

The recent pronouncement by the government on casinos does essentially three things in relation to Blackpool: First, it confirms that Blackpool will not get the casino – which has long been at the centre of its regeneration plans.

Second, it confirms that the government can't think of an effective alternative to casino-based regeneration for a coastal resort town.
Finally, despite the window dressing, it fails to provide the public investment needed for successful regeneration; even with the injection of private money that a supercasino would bring.

I scoured your piece carefully looking for evidence of the public investment advocated in the title and found none – much like the government's recent statements on casinos!


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