In some ways the real winner from the Government's casino announcement yesterday was Blackpool, which is to receive almost £300 million as compensation for not being allowed to build a massive regional casino.

As those who have been following the saga will know, Blackpool hasn't lost out as a result of yesterday's decision to scrap the so-called supercasino.

Its proposal was actually rejected in January last year, when Manchester's scheme won approval instead.

Blackpool is in exactly the same position as Birmingham and Solihull, which presented what was in effect a joint bid for a supercasino at the same time.

Just like Blackpool, they lost out to Manchester. However, they will not receive £300 million.

One difference, perhaps, is that Blackpool was always seen as the favourite, and local civic leaders were particularly angry at losing.

But the town was never given any guarantee that it would be chosen. On the contrary, the competition was always supposed to be an open one in which every bid would be considered on its merits.  Another argument, which has more force, is that Blackpool needs the help more than Birmingham and Solihull.

But while the West Midlands is more successful financially than northern England, it does contain large pockets of extreme poverty, in Solihull as well as in Birmingham.

It looks suspiciously as if the Government has chosen to throw money at Blackpool for purely political reasons, which raises questions of fairness.

The good news is that Solihull now has the opportunity to press ahead with its plans for a large casino. The delay has been unfortunate, and will have imposed extra costs on the borough council.

Again, politics is the cause. The Government launched a review of plans to build new casinos last year, but there was never real doubt that the smaller venues would be allowed to proceed.

Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, really wanted to scrap the supercasino, but felt obliged to go through the motions of a more thorough investigation.

The NEC will now attempt to press ahead with its proposals.

A gambling facility at the NEC, linked to a hotel and entertainment complex, might prove a hit with visitors to Birmingham and cause few social problems.

By contrast, a casino in a residential area would be likely to do more harm than good.

If Solihull is to have a new casino at all, the NEC is the most suitable place for it.