Research we worked on recently in New Zealand showed that gambling opportunities are overwhelmingly located in poor neighbourhoods (Jowell faces revolt on gambling, October 18). There is good evidence that deprivation is a risk factor for developing a gambling habit, which can have serious implications for the gambler and those around them. The gambling industry obviously has an interest in targeting its operations at markets where it will do well. The issue is not about a nanny state interfering in individuals' freedom to bet, but prevention of the exploitation of peoples' vulnerabilities. There are lots of ways to try to regenerate run-down areas; building casinos is not one of them.
Ben Wheeler and Jan Rigby University of Sheffield