Corporations’ defence, no ‘hard’ evidence of harm from low-level radiation, OPs, GMOs and today: gambling

Back in 2005 economist and statistician Dr Scott Cato summarised current evidence of the social and health costs, recorded below and found remarkably little data available on the extent of gambling in the UK, though estimates of the costs of gambling in all areas of society have been made for the USA.

She records that in 2001 regulation of gambling passed from the Home Office to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. This was a necessary move before the passing of legislation that will allow an expansion in this area of commercial activity, which is now considered an ‘industry’, although it has no socially valuable product. Harriet Harman, the former Labour minister who led the liberalisation, said she had made a “mistake”.

US gambling table West Bromwich MP Tom Watson raised the subject in the House of Commons yesterday of Fixed Odds betting terminals; they allow punters to gamble up to £100 every 20 seconds, transforming local bookmakers into “High Street digital casinos” and should be banned.

fivxed odds betting machineTakings from the machines now account for nearly half of the big bookmakers’ annual profits. He called for the UK to follow Ireland’s example and outlaw these “addictive machines”.

David Cameron said he had been lobbied about this previously, and will take a “proper look at this issue”. Industry says there is no hard evidence of this and have promised a new code of conduct to allow players to limit their own stakes.

For the human costs listen again to today’s accounts of those who become addicted on the Radio 5 live Breakfast phone-in, read the September testimony of Roger Radler, who lost his job, wife and self respect.

Dr Scott Cato: Gambling imposes various costs on society, some of which could be measured in financial terms:

  • Gamblers are directly transferring their money out of their household and away from legitimate consumption.
  • In poorer households this means deprivation for other family members.
  • This pressure can result in tensions within families and lead to increasing rates of divorce.
  • Those involved in gambling are also more likely to drink heavily and to engage in crime to fund their habit.

professor mark griffithsShe cites the work of Professor Mark Griffiths, a chartered psychologist focussing in the field of gaming addiction and gambling at Nottingham Trent University. He estimated that there are presently between 275,000 and 325,000 ‘problem gamblers’ in the UK and that this number may double or quadruple as a result of the new gambling bill. (Rincon, P., ‘Problem Gambling set to Explode’, BBC website, 9 Sept. 2004).

Since this was written in 2005 he has added substantially to his research findings (see link) and might well be able to offer all the ‘hard’ evidence the gambling industry could require.

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Posted on October 24, 2013, in Conflict of interest, Corporate political nexus, Government, Lobbying, MPs, Parliamentary failure, Planning, Vested interests and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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