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The Racing Paper - - Front Page - JOHN McCRIR­ICK

Be­ing a right wing Tory, I’m all for in­di­vid­ual free­doms and be­lieve the leg­is­la­tion bring­ing the max­i­mum wa­ger on Fixed Odds Bet­ting Ter­mi­nals down from £100 to £2 is ut­terly wrong.

Of course there are tragedies. Peo­ple com­mit sui­cide be­cause they bet too much but that hap­pens if you drink too much. Any­thing you do to ex­cess cre­ates dan­ger, like driv­ing too fast, eat­ing too much junk food or drug abuse.

That aw­ful po­lit­i­cally cor­rect phrase is trot­ted out: We’re only do­ing this for your own good. It takes me back to my pub­lic school days when they used to beat the life out of me and say it’s only for your own good.

In all of this we’ve lost the word re­spon­si­bil­ity. We are all re­spon­si­ble for our own ac­tions. There are con­tribut­ing fac­tors and the rea­son peo­ple bet too much is that, like me, they’re lazy and greedy.

This leg­is­la­tion is like busy­bod­ies get­ting in­volved with peo­ple’s sex­u­al­ity. It doesn’t mat­ter what peo­ple do or who they do it with. Only two things count: it must be con­sen­sual and over-age. Apart from that, what they get up to in the bed­room or else­where, how many do it, is no con­cern of par­lia­ment or the rest of us.

In the old days you might have been able to bring in a re­stric­tion on FOBTs and it would work. But these days you can bet 24 hours a day on­line as much as you want on poker, vir­tual racing and ev­ery­thing else.

I’m amazed bet­ting shops con­tinue. I was a denizen of of­fices from the day Jack Swift’s opened on May 1 1961 in Lon­don’s Dover Street. In this mod­ern age where peo­ple can see ev­ery race on TV and do all the bet­ting they want in their own home, how can shops sur­vive with all the ex­penses they in­cur?

Now this loss of revenue and cus­tomer in­volve­ment will be a death war­rant for many of them and crip­ple racing’s in­come.

“These days you can bet 24 hours a day on­line as much as you want on poker, vir­tual racing and al­most ev­ery­thing else”

Choice: Fixed Odds Ter­mi­nals

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