Labour Party may capitalize on recent problem gambling reports I was recently talking to a friend, (who I’ll call Eddie for this article) who was heavily involved in the offshore gambling industry until 2006, when he decided to move back to the U.K. after the passing of the UIGEA. He is now very involved in
Labour Party may capitalize on recent problem gambling reports
I was recently talking to a friend, (who I’ll call Eddie for this article) who was heavily involved in the offshore gambling industry until 2006, when he decided to move back to the U.K. after the passing of the UIGEA. He is now very involved in the legal gambling industry in the United Kingdom but told me that he is quite concerned that the gambling industry in the UK, as we know it, will soon be coming to an end!
Eddie told me that he and his cohorts were discussing the changing attitudes towards gambling that is taking place in the UK in recent months thanks to a study released by the UK Gambling Commission that indicated that over 400,000 citizens are problem gamblers and up to 2 million are either addicted or are at risk of becoming addicted to gambling. He and his cohorts were cowering in the last election when the Labour Party almost defeated Theresa May and the Conservatives, given that the Labour Party’s objectives are for more government interference, higher taxation, redistribution of wealth and social engineering. But he and his cohorts also knew that gambling is so intertwined with both the UK economy and people’s lives that trying to stop it would be political suicide.
This report by the Gambling Commission, however, gives the Labour Party some reason to promote their platform in hopes that it could win them votes. And they could be right.
In recent months there have been various petitions started by anti-gambling groups and ordinary citizens calling for the government to do something about the rise in problem gambling, and hundreds of people are on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram each day suggesting that the UK government has fallen in their responsibility to curtail the problem. Of course, most Brits still want the ability to gamble as they like, but as is always the case, those that oppose something tend to speak the loudest.
Gambling has been legal in the UK since the Gambling Act was passed by parliament in 1960 (of course horse racing was legal prior to that). But the increase in online gambling, fixed odds betting terminals at bookmaking offices and the constant promises in advertising of riches that gambling can help generate have driven a whole new generation of gamblers to take up the activity. Moreover, there have been accusations in the UK that a several bookmakers are targeting problem gamblers rather than cutting them off. Tom Watson, the Labour Deputy Leader even said as much at a Labour Conference:
“Some gambling firms, driven by greed, are deliberately targeting our poorest communities.”
“We now know that when vulnerable people try to opt out of online gambling, companies don’t always block their accounts as they should. Gambling companies are even harvesting data to deliberately target low-income gamblers and people who’ve given up. Can you imagine the uproar if the drinks industry started targeting members of Alcoholics Anonymous by selling drink outside AA meetings?”
“We wouldn’t tolerate that – and we shouldn’t tolerate the same kind of behavior by some bookmakers.”
As a result, the Labour Party indicated that if elected it would ban gambling firms from advertising on soccer uniforms and would look at stopping other forms of advertising. The Party would look at ways of cutting down on fixed odds terminals, it would pass a bill preventing betting firms from targeting vulnerable people and it would force bookmakers to pay a levy to fund treatments for gambling addiction. These were the policies that were announced publicly, but Eddie said what he and his cohorts know that it is a slippery slope and the ultimate goal of Labour is to ban gambling in the UK altogether (except perhaps betting on horse racing and soccer).
Rumor has it that behind the scenes the Labour Party is working with lobby groups to help keep the concerns about gambling in the news and to pronounce the evils of gambling at every opportunity so that when the next election comes around the Labour Party will be viewed as the moral alternative.
“You don’t have to be a clairvoyant to see what will happen,” Eddie told me “they’ll start with advertising, then they’ll pass ridiculous tax rates which will force the majority of bookmakers and casinos out of business and lastly when there’s no more appetite to fight it they’ll simply announce an all-out ban. Doing so will cost the government billions in revenue but they’ll just pay for their ideals by hiking taxes to the rich and the corporations. In the end, gambling will once again be driven underground as it was in the 1950s and the overall GDP of the country will go in the loo. And don’t put anything past the Labour Party either. They after all were responsible for initially passing the motion to leave the EU which eventually resulted in the majority of UK residents voting to do just that (Brexit).”
We’ll hold out to see if the Labour Party does get elected into power and then hold oor breath on what they do with gambling in the UK.1 comment