Port De Soller Mallorca

Port De Soller Mallorca

Sunday, 2 March 2014

The debate on gambling, what's your take?

(c) vectro.rs
All week on the news here in the UK, there has been yet another debate on gambling machines in betting shops and the addictive power they hold over some of the punters.

As I understand it if you go into a pub or a takeaway where you find gambling machines you are limited to how much cash you can actually put into these machines which is a few pounds, but in betting shops, as I understand it, you can bet hundreds of pounds at a time.

Also, and in particular to say, takeaways, your time is limited to how long you are in there waiting on your order to be made up and given to you and then you are out of there and of course the amount you can win is also a few pence to a few pounds while in betting shops you can sit in there all day and put as much as you want in, from a few pounds to a few hundred pounds with the returns also being that much greater, possibly!

The debate I have heard this week is about the gambling industry introducing voluntary controls where, when you put the first coin or note into your machine you are given the option to set a time limit and an amount you want to gamble up to.  So, you can start and say to yourself that you only want to spend an hour on the machine and you only want to gamble a maximum of £200.00.    

I have to confess to only having two addictions in my life that has been detrimental to both my pocket and my health. The first one is the dreaded fags if you haven't guessed it and even now after having been diagnosed with terminal cancer, although I hasten to add, according to my oncologist, my particular cancer is not linked to the cancer I have and my plan was to finally kick the nasty habit when it was thought that it could be cut out and that after the operation I was going to be in hospital for at least three weeks and that then, would be the perfect time to kick the habit, ah well the best laid plans, and all that.  So, I have continued to smoke but there is a plan now in effect and the first step is the pharmacy today to buy one of these new fangled electronic fags and try again, but this timeI am I hope, more determined.

The second addiction was booze.  I came from a hard drinking community and family, I can only remember seeing my father drunk more often than sober and I can remember well, being more than a tad upset when I was thrown out of one of my favourite watering holes when I was fourteen after been drinking in there for about a year, when a new barmaid started who new, " Hey, you're one of Agnes's kids aren't you ...." And you can imagine the rest.  Mind you it didn't help, that Agnes, my mother was in the trade and I used to volunteer regularly to clean and tidy the cellar under the bar and this was at a time when most beers were in 'screw top' bottles in crates and that made it easy for me to go round a crate of beer, unscrew the top and take a swallow and as long as I managed to keep the levels equal and not take too much, I could guzzle a lot of beer in each 'cleaning' session!

I then joined the Army at 15, Junior service and then at 17 transferred to the Regulars and my Regiment was in Berlin. Part of the British Army on the Rhine, shortened to the acronym BAOR, then lengthened by those serving at the time to the 'Boozy Army on the Rhine', as booze in the NAAFI/PX was so, so cheap.

Well, you probably know the rest, got married 76, first child Marie came along in 78 and from that moment I gave up the booze only occasionally to today, having the very odd tipple.  I found that relatively easy but the fags, clearly not.

So back to the gambling and the debate of the week which now has the government stepping in and telling the gambling industry that rather than them introducing a voluntary code of practice, the government is going to make them mandatory.  Fine, let's make them mandatory, but is this really a way forward to help those who have this addiction? It seems  to me that the new rules,  whether introduced voluntary by the bookies, or mandatory by government, is a bit like pissing in the wind. Is it not like an alcoholic finally admitting his addiction, joining AA and then being applauded for their courage in finally admitting, coming to terms with it and then joining their first AA meeting, to be told, "just in case you need it, there is tea, coffee and water over in the corner, oh, and there's a bottle of Whisky, there too, just in case ........."

The warning is there on the slot machine and it flashes up on the screen to tell you to put your time/£ limit in, but the button is there for you to over ride it at any time, and unlike the AA meeting there are no like minded people also trying to fight their addiction sitting in a circle willing you on to win the fight and to resist the urge.... It's just you and the machine and the easy button to override your desire to feed your addiction, the machine and the profits of a vastly rich gambling company before you head home to your wife and family with empty pockets and wallets, again. and I suppose that's easy to do when you can bet £100.00 every 20 seconds! (BBC news)

As an aside, at 57, I can report, that I can count on my right hand how many times I have actually been inside a betting shop in my life....... and why are they called shops any way? A shop is a place where you can purchase goods or services, can't see you can do that in these places.... And if you know me you know I don't have five digits on my right hand ........


  1. I can't say I'm ever in favor of the government stepping in to do much of anything. They seem to muck it all up and create far more problems than they solve.

    1. It just seems like such an idiotic response to an addiction, self regulate yourself with one click but you can also opt out by clicking again ......

    2. Oh, Tom, for the longest time there were debates about the gambling and drinking in Cripple Creek, Colorado. Not the dangerous mountain drive home afterwards, but gamblers who cashed their welfare checks at quick-cash places and then lost it at the tables. Now Colorado has also added legal marijuana to the mix... need I say more?

    3. Why is it Marylin, that it is never the truly altruistic and sensible people who are in power governing us?


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