Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/961/26090

From The Socialist newspaper, 6 September 2017

Problem gambling soars by 33%

'Crack cocaine' betting machines rake in billions - but even this is dwarfed by 24-hour online gambling, photo by Yamaguchi先生/CC

'Crack cocaine' betting machines rake in billions - but even this is dwarfed by 24-hour online gambling, photo by Yamaguchi先生/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Tories and Blairites behind 'light touch' industry regulation

Dave Carr

The old adage "there's a sucker born every minute" should be updated to every 20 seconds - after Britain's gambling industry was again revealed to be exploiting vulnerable people in order to increase profits.

If readers don't know, 20 seconds is the average time between bets of up to 100 a throw on 'fixed-odds betting terminals' (FOBTs). They're the modern-day fruit machines in bookies' shops, considered the 'crack cocaine' of gambling.

An estimated 1.8 billion a year is sucked out of the wallets and purses and payday loans of mainly poor punters by FOBTs.

But the latest culprit is an online firm, 888. It has just been fined a record 7.8 million by the Gambling Commission, the state regulator, after a "technical failure" allowed 7,000 problem gamblers to circumvent blocks, access their accounts and continue gambling.

Online gambling is even more addictive - and more profitable - than FOBTs. Last year it accounted for 4.5 billion out of the industry's total income of 14 billion.

The industry likes to promote betting with images of grandad having a flutter on the Grand National or happy punters who put 1 on Leicester City to win the Premier League.

In reality the number of problem gamblers has shot up by 33% in three years - to 430,000. It's the result of easy access, extensive promotional deals and light-touch regulation. The Gambling Commission also estimates around two million gamblers are 'at risk'.

The cost to these individuals is huge - family breakup, job loss, bankruptcy, jailing and even suicide. The cost to society in health services and criminal justice is, according to the Institute for Public Policy Research, 1.2 billion a year.

Self-regulation has clearly not reduced problem gambling but governments have been reluctant to act. That's not surprising as the gambling industry has enjoyed a cosy relationship with governments and MPs.

It was Tony Blair who liberalised gambling laws in his 2005 Gambling Act and promoted super-casinos to 'create (low paid) jobs'.

In 2012 the Commons culture committee recommended more FOBTs and revived the idea of more super-casinos, despite widespread public opposition. It also blamed 'high' taxation for driving online operators abroad - instead of accusing them of tax avoidance.

The government has delayed publishing its latest report into gambling - which conveniently ignores online betting - but Theresa May is under pressure to reduce the 100 stake limit on FOBTs to 2. However, the Treasury is no doubt reluctant to take a 1 billion hit in revenues.

The gambling industry is an unequivocal example of a privately owned industry, run ruthlessly in the interests of private profit, operating against the interests of wider society.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 6 September 2017:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Fight council cuts - back the Brum bin strikers!

Historic McStrike: if we don't get it, shut it down!

Problem gambling soars by 33%

UN slams Tories for disabled rights ruin

Them & Us


What we think

Tories weak: time for the TUC to act


Schools and teaching

Schools and teaching: A perfect storm of cuts, underfunding, excessive workloads and low pay


Socialist Party workplace news

Strike together for better pay

RMT fighting for passenger safety, accessibility and security

Merseyrail strike over safety: Labour mayor and councillors must reverse their decision

Three week Argos strike ends

Fawley refinery canteen strikers tell their employer: "pay up"

College workers ballot for action in Nottingham


International socialist news and analysis

Hurricane Harvey: A tragedy made far worse by capitalism

Extreme weather events and global warming


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Determined protest against Chatsworth Ward closure

Young people are searching for an alternative - find it at Socialism 2017

Huddersfield A&E closure goes to judicial review

Three thousand attend Burston strike commemoration rally

Bristol's Labour mayor calls anti-austerity march - now stop making cuts!

Demonstrators see off far-right in Keighley

Anti-fracking campaigners' legal fight


Socialist Party comments and reviews

How the Single Market blocks socialist policies

Bosses' pensions robbery

Magic money tree

Warts-and-all account of class war and the struggle for LGBT+ rights

'Let the producers of wealth unite - and what can withstand them?'


 

Home   |   The Socialist 6 September 2017   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Culture:

triangleUS: "We've had to build a huge culture of resistance"

triangleCatchy folk rock with a socialist edge

triangleSchool students' remarkable tribute to workers' Spanish Civil War bravery

triangleArts unions agree joint campaign work

triangleWorkplace news in brief

Tories:

triangleTory crisis deepens - demand a general election now!

triangleCardiff West Socialist Party: Tories in Crisis - Force a General Election!

triangleMinister's benefits lie: sack the Tories - and scrap universal credit

triangleTories fractured... election possibility... give us the resources!

Profit:

triangleBritain bakes as water pipelines leak

triangle#NorthernFail: 250 rail services cancelled

triangleAberfan disaster novel reminds us Grenfell was not an anomaly

Tax:

triangle600 more retail jobs on the line: workers must not pay for the bosses' high street crunch!

triangle#AmazonTax shows need for socialist fighters

Government:

triangle'Vote Leave' fined: For a workers' Brexit

Family:

triangleInternational Women's Day

Britain:

triangle250,000-strong human tide sweeps London against visit of bigoted billionaire Donald Trump

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

20/7/18

Brexit

Tory crisis deepens - demand a general election now!

18/7/18

Brexit

'Vote Leave' fined: For a workers' Brexit

16/7/18

Donald Trump

250,000-strong human tide sweeps London against visit of bigoted billionaire Donald Trump

11/7/18

Water

Britain bakes as water pipelines leak

11/7/18

Retail

600 more retail jobs on the line: workers must not pay for the bosses' high street crunch!

11/7/18

Them & Us

Them & Us

11/7/18

Universal Credit

Minister's benefits lie: sack the Tories - and scrap universal credit

10/7/18

The Socialist

Tories in crisis - Act now to get them out!

9/7/18

Tories

Walk Out against Trump and Tories

4/7/18

NSSN

NSSN conference 2018

4/7/18

Public services

Social care funding crisis: no to an age levy - make the super-rich pay

4/7/18

What we saw

What we saw

4/7/18

Them & Us

Them & us

4/7/18

State

British state complicit in torture and rendition: put Blair and Straw in the dock!

4/7/18

Refugees

EU lets 200 refugees drown in three days

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999