Opinion – Britain’s hidden epidemic of gambling addiction has been left unattended for too long – Op Ed – Tom Watson and Jon Ashworth – Huffington Post

Here’s a good op ed, published in the Huffington Post, highlighting how the UK’s Labour Party would go further on tackling gambling addiction. As I reflect on this article, my mind cast over the growing politics of addiction – including drugs, alcohol, gambling and obesity. On the left, the approach demands growing state-involvement. Meanwhile, on the right, the viewpoint is increasingly that it’s the respobsibility of the individual and and his/her family. My political views are well known and I do not subscribe to the view that gambling addiction should be the latest disease to be addressed by the NHS. But I do think that government intervention on all addictions is way behind the curve. Having spent most of my career delivering strategic change, I think that governments must take a holistic approach to addiction, regarding it increasingly as a strategic challenge. After all, consider how China suffered in the Opium Wars?

One response

  1. Dr Alf is right but the Government is more interested in taking money from the stupid than it is in meeting the strategic challenge of gambling.

    The National Lottery is a case in point, whereby the UK lottery is the only one on the planet where the odds can be scaled back after the event and where Professor Thorpe a mathematician was instrumental in helping Camelot PLC structure the Lottery marketing plan to take into account that people born at certain times would not choose numbers based on the letters of their first name thus ensuring smaller overall payouts from the Lottery and more money for the Government.

    Monies from the “Good Causes” fund of the National Lottery and doubled ticket prices are plundered for use in the NHS and with bigger jackpots odds have been slashed making Lottery profits even bigger along with Treasury take.

    The philosophy extends to fixed odds betting terminals in bookmakers shops which are a licence to fleece the unwary and the gambling addicted.

    Slot machines in pubs with flashing lights and sounds are also encouraged along with gambling apps heavily advertised on ITV which allow the poorest to imagine that they are in Las Vegas instead of their squalid council flat.

    In short gambling is viewed not as a social evil but as a source of voluntary taxation.

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