Blair justified the 2005 Gambling Act with his comment “You can gamble your mortgage away on putting money on a horse or, you know, take a bet on the election”. No mortgages lost on Tony’s multimillion pound high streets though!
Go to Swindon and poker is played illegally in pubs at stakes in excess of those permitted under the Act and that’s because the corporations were not interested in operating poker clubs in 2005. They were too busy lobbying for remote gambling, FOBTs and super casinos.
Pub poker players report high levels of addictive behaviour with cash-loss factors being peer pressure (the winners don’t want the losers to quit), and of course an element of cheating.
Blairs’ Act criminalised the most sociable form of gambling, resulting in weaker players getting screwed in Swindon and every other community that it is not allowed a casino with Poker on offer.
Blair thought gambling was just another financial service, so all remote sites would locate in London and import revenue whilst exporting gambling addiction.
But remote gambling anarchists wanted the lowest regulation and tax so went to offshore banana republics. Many have since joined the monkeys in Gibraltar, from where they are using the EU courts to try to avoid paying UK gambling tax related to losses from UK gamblers.
Tessa Jowell dressed in a croupier outfit smiling behind a Gala Casino roulette wheel said “There is nothing wrong with a harmless flutter”. Just out of camera shot was Labour donor and then Gala Coral CEO, Neil Goulden, who has been the betting sector’s biggest lobbyist. And let’s not forget former Gala Coral lobbyist at the time of the Act, Phil Wilson MP – the man who replaced Blair in Sedgefield. Tony coming back – is he serious?