Are they mad?


I got to the business page of the Racing Post today and the lead article relates to something Sean Trivass and I covered in the Podcast last Friday.

It concerns the attempt of an all party group to “manage” punters and limit how much they can spend each week, on betting.

Now we all know some people have a problem with betting, as they do with drinking, or bingeing on junk food and becoming obese, and yet only betting seems to be targeted by these people?

The Social Market Foundation is, as I say, a cross party “think tank”, who are looking to “nanny” punters and introduce “affordability” checks on people, to make sure they can actually afford to have a bet. In effect, they want to make sure you can afford to lose more than £23 per week before they’ll let you pass that threshold. They want to introduce a “soft cap” of £100 per month, for online gambling.

Madness, isn’t it?

What evidence have they to hand, that suggests these figures? Are then going to apply the same caps to pubs and drinking? Will your checkout at Tesco stop you purchasing alcohol because you’ve already consumed more then the advised weekly/monthly amount? Surely, if you are going to tackle problem gambling, you then have to target everything that some (a minority), have an addiction to?

How about you pull up at a McDonalds drive through and are refused service because their systems advise you have already had three burgers that week and they then spend 15 minutes offering dietary advice?

A smoker wishes to purchase more than his ration of cigarettes….who tells him “no, you have smoked 10 today”….and how do they check?

It is estimated around 30 million people enjoy having a bet and not just on horse racing, we are talking Lottery, and bingo and if they stop people spending £10 on the Lottery per month because of this £23 per week limit, who will then make up the shortfall to the good causes the Lottery was set up help and, how will the Exchequer then make up the shortfall they will see, from that very form of gambling that they introduced, as a way of taxing unemployment benefit?

A study of gambling, carried out in America, suggests that the most addictive forms of gambling are electronic machine (slots), and that online poker is considered to be the “crack-cocaine” for those with gambling issues. So why not focus on the biggest causes of a problem?

I genuinely do have feelings for those that do have an issue with betting but it is a minority of people that fall into that bracket. As Sean said during the Podcast, it’s a bit like suggesting that all football fans are hooligans, because 25 people in a crowd of 50,000 want to have a fight.

How much will be invested in policing this as compared to how much it might cost to help those with an addiction?

Previous articleStradivarius joins the greats, but is the Arc a sensible target?
Next articleCatching My Eye


  1. Totally agree Ron. As I’ve just stated on Twitter my turnover last year was more than I earn but thats been built up via different banks with an ever dwindling amount of online bookmakers. At no stage did I top up with real day to day money from my job. At first sight based on stats alone I could be flagged as a problem gambler when in fact I was up 18k on the year