Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist
20 October 2004

I cannot understand why this government feels compelled to liberalise gambling laws in this country. I find it extraordinary that the Government would see casinos as a means of regional regeneration. Of course not all the bill is bad – it does ban advertising for online casinos and bans fruit machines from places without proper supervision like takeaways and minicab offices – but it also allows for more and larger casinos.

I can’t cite the relevant research but from what I remember the evidence suggests much of the money spent on gambling comes from the poor and the elderly and it flows to large multinational corporations (if anyone can refer me to hard data on this I would be interested). There are already 400,000 ‘problem gamblers’ in the UK and the Henley Centre suggests this bill could add another 300,000. According to Gamcare for each problem gambler 15 others are affected.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists found serious problems with the bill – in fact the joint committee heard from five groups all opposed to the bill. In addition the NHS’ Health Development Agency has produced an excellent article outlining some of the dangers.

I don’t recall any groundswell of popular enthusiasm for increased gambling being expressed – in fact one poll suggests 90% are opposed to further liberalisation.

I can’t understand why there isn’t more protest around this issue. The Salvation Army has responded to the government’s proposals but while it is criticising the bill it does not seem to be running any kind of online campaign.

To my dismay, not only did there seem not to be an anti-gambling lobby group on the BBC’s iCan site – it provides information on how to run a lottery to raise money for your cause! There’s an anti-gambling bill campaign there now however and I encourage you to join it and if you are in the UK see what your MP says about the bill and lobby him or her to stop it

I just discovered I have a powerful ally on this issue (if a strange bedfellow) the Daily Mail is running a campaign against the gambling bill as well. If you are in the UK you can join their campaign by emailing casino@dailymail.co.uk, giving your name and address, and saying you also oppose the gambling bill.


  1. The people elect the MPs. Is their first consideration to be for the people or loyalty to the party and system that ensures that they will never run short of money. In every high unemployment area there are at least two “bookmakers”and numerous
    shops selling alcohol. Crime among the teenagers must increase to fund their gambling.

    Comment by A McGeachy — 22 October 2004 @ 7:59 pm

  2. […] I wrote a fairly extensive post about the gambling bill when it first came up in 2004 with some of the evidence against it. […]

    Pingback by Blog.org by David Brake academic, consultant & journalist — 10 May 2006 @ 12:35 pm

  3. The Act is now sadly in place and Local Authorities are seeking consultations on local implementation.

    Local Councils are obliged to prepare and publish a “Statement of Licensing Policy” by 31st January 2007. Draft versions of this policy are currently available for consultation and views on it are being sought.

    I too find it completely baffling that the UK Government has passed this Act but, the more I look into the matter, the more difficult I find the issues.

    I am researching the matter to enable me to make an informed participation in the consultation on Local Licensing Policy and am putting my analysis and evidence from my research on


    I hope other people who are similarly trying to resolve these issues will find the analysis helpful and will join in to comment during the consultation period to resolve these difficult moral and ethical issues.

    Comment by Rob Watson — 19 July 2006 @ 12:28 pm

  4. […] under:Current Affairs (UK), Interesting facts, Negative uses of technology at19:58 this text spoken posts linked to this According to a new article by The Economist (subscription required to read), “bets inBritain have grown rapidly, from £7 billion in 2000 to £32 billion in 2004 and an estimated £50 billion or more this year.” Internet betting accounts for 15% of this, and half of the bets are placed by foreigners (leaving half to be placed by our own citizens). Regular readers of my blog will know that I am horrified by what amounts to a de facto voluntary tax on the poor and if you are in the UK I encourage you to sign a petition against super-casinos here. Track comments […]

    Pingback by Blog.org by David Brake academic, consultant & journalist — 14 September 2006 @ 7:59 pm

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