Bold step to limit losses and dam­age

The Press and Journal (North-East) - - FEATURES -

The scale of the riches be­ing reaped by the na­tion’s book­mak­ers from fixed-odds bet­ting ter­mi­nals can sim­ply be gauged by the fe­roc­ity of their lob­by­ing cam­paign against re­form.

Tens of thou­sands of jobs will be lost, they have thun­dered for weeks, while re­main­ing strangely quiet about the fact many would be in the poor­est neigh­bour­hoods.

It is a pow­er­ful in­dus­try, used to get­ting its way, so the UK Gov­ern­ment must be ap­plauded for such a bold step as the new £2 max­i­mum stake.

The door had been left open for a fudge but min­is­ters in­stead took a stand.

Equally or more de­serv­ing of our plau­dits are those whose re­lent­less ex­po­sure of the dam­age be­ing caused pro­vided the im­pe­tus that se­cured it.

MSP Kevin Ste­wart was one, high­light­ing fright­en­ing fig­ures like the £114 mil­lion lost by pun­ters across the north and north-east in just the last eight years.

Oth­ers, like Wendy Ben­dal, chan­nelled deep per­sonal an­guish into the push for change.

She ex­pe­ri­enced the full hor­ror of lit­er­ally los­ing her part­ner to the ad­dic­tive ma­chines when he took his own life af­ter rack­ing up spi­ralling debts.

It would be un­wise in­deed to see the leg­is­la­tion as any kind of a sil­ver bul­let or cure for ad­dic­tion.

But if it lim­its their losses and en­cour­ages oth­ers to think twice then it has to be a positive step.

“It is a pow­er­ful in­dus­try, so the UK Gov­ern­ment must be ap­plauded”

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