Sunday, 3 March 2019

We need to address the scourge of online gambling.

As I get up this morning and check my lottery tickets , i am reminded that as I buy one ticket  every week, i am spending over £100 pound a year on something that I've never broken  even on let alone won any substantial since the first tickets were drawn in 1994.

But i am in control I don't buy scratchcards or increase my number of tickets and I can see the problem when desperate people are buying to many in the hope that they can win.

However  the main problem is probably gambling in other areas.

So I support a cap on how much gamblers can stake on betting machines despite  claim that it could see 1,000 jobs go in Wales, an organisation representing bookmakers has claimed.
The BBC reports that
From April, the maximum stake on the fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) will be cut from from £100 to £2.
The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) said this would mean "up to half of all betting shops in Wales closing".Dai Lloyd, chairman of the Welsh Assembly's health committee, said the FOBTs "destroyed lives".
"It literally does destroy lives in terms of all that worry and concern about huge debts mounting and mounting," Mr Lloyd added.
Shaun Payne, owner of SP Racing bookmakers in Llandrindod Wells, Powys, told BBC Radio Wales he could be forced to close and said the change would not tackle gambling addiction.
"There's nothing stopping me going into a shop and spending £100 on scratch cards and then going back and buying another £100 of scratch cards," he said.
He may have a point , but there is a difference in  betting on a Horse where expertise   on form and "going" could see you beating the odds rather than merely through luck.

Mr Payne claimed online gambling and late-night roulette games on television were more dangerous.
"I thought that's what the Gambling Commission was trying to stop, but that doesn't seem to be the case," he added.
"Customers tell me that by the time they have got in their car, they could have changed their mind, whereas online it is quick."
He certainly has a point here  every night we see advertisement for online casinos and  people are encouraged to play games most of which are based on luck, (if luck exist ) or chance  and even so the odds are stacked against them
Councils could soon be given more power over where bookies can open, to stop clusters appearing in poorer areas.
A consultation has been held by the Welsh Government over changes to planning rules which would mean former banks or building societies would need planning permission to become bookmakers.
At present, they do not as they are classed in the same category - financial and professional services.
The BBC report that 
Sarah Grant from Cardiff spent years addicted to gambling. She bet online and in shops and won and lost thousands of pounds in single days.She became homeless and spent days on end in betting shops because they would give her free tea, coffee and toast while she was gambling.
"It's like you live life on a high and low all the time, there's no in-between," she said.
"So you're either completely high because you're gambling, you're really quick and all your thoughts are going fast and you're thinking about what you're going to win and do, where your next bet is going.
"And then, all of a sudden, you lose and you realise you've run out of money and you're just down on the floor, like, suicidal, sometimes at that point because you just panic and think 'what am I going to do now?'"
 According to the Gambling Commission, 25,000 people self-reported as having a problem with gambling in Wales in 2016 - with a further 100,000 estimated to be at risk.There are almost 390 betting shops in Wales, employing nearly 2,100 people.
An ABB spokesman said: "We hope that the Welsh Government will work with us to help mitigate the impact on jobs following this change in legislation.
In 2017, betting shops made £3.2bn from FOBTs and over-the-counter bets, with the machines accounting for 57% of the total - up from 38% in 2008-09.
Prof Robert Rogers, from Bangor University's public health collaborating unit, said: "The evidence suggests that, overall, there are more betting shops in areas of high deprivation.

"This is a concern because we also know that harm tends to be higher in these areas than in less deprived areas."
It's not as if we receive any money into the treasury as most of these companies are registered   abroad and avoid paying any tax on their profits let alone any gambling tax.

Many will recall a heavy gambler coming into their local and buying  a round of drinks, but who buys them one back, when (as is more often )  they lose?

It can be fun to play a One Armed Bandit, but even if you  can enhance your winnings via a knowledge of the more sophisticated machines unless you win big on your first bets then stop, you are guaranteed to lose out over time.

We need a long hard look at gambling on these islands, and if legislation is needed then so be it.

Many bookmakers have signs in their shops reading ..

"When the fun stops stop".
Unfortunately some people should never have started in the first place.

 But perhaps the best way we can combat this is to raise  people out of poverty and not have a system where people risk what little they have on a bet where the odds are stacked against them.

Indeed for may the reason that they bet is life's odds are already stacked against them and they hopes are based on a gamble , rather than those in Westminster.

No comments: