Bet­ting sharks curbed

Scottish Daily Mail - - News -

THE 13 years since Labour passed the shame­ful 2005 Gam­bling Act have es­tab­lished beyond any doubt the per­ni­cious evil of fixed odds bet­ting ter­mi­nals.

As dev­as­tat­ing re­search by that fam­ily cham­pion Iain Dun­can Smith proved, they have sig­nif­i­cantly con­trib­uted to prob­lem gam­bling, vi­o­lent crime, in­debt­ed­ness and fam­ily break­down. So as the pa­per which cam­paigned pas­sion­ately against ma­chines so ad­dic­tive they are com­pared to crack co­caine, the Mail em­phat­i­cally wel­comes Cul­ture Sec­re­tary Matt Han­cock’s de­ci­sion to slash the max­i­mum bet, cur­rently £100, to just £2 (though re­gret­tably, this long over­due re­form will not come into force until 2020).

Mr Han­cock and Theresa May also de­serve great credit for fight­ing off op­po­si­tion from a penny-pinch­ing Chan­cel­lor and Trea­sury of­fi­cials moan­ing – short­sight­edly – about the po­ten­tial loss of tax rev­enues.

They also stood up to in­tense lob­by­ing by ra­pa­cious book­mak­ers scare­mon­ger­ing about po­ten­tial job losses.

With fur­ther gam­bling curbs on the cards, there is ev­ery hope that the far-reach­ing malaise un­leashed by Tony Blair in the name of lib­er­al­i­sa­tion can now be re­versed.

And if min­is­ters want to know where to look next, they should con­sider how chil­dren are bom­barded day af­ter day with gam­bling ad­verts on pre-water­shed TV and so­cial me­dia.

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