“Bonus King” Fred’s flunking Betfred

Bet fred 2

A strong sensation that an event or experience currently being experienced has already been experienced in the past” is the dictionary definition of déjà vu that Sarah Harrison, the recently appointed Gambling Commission CEO may have looked up this week.

Since her tenure at the gambling regulator began she has walloped Coral bookmakers with a hefty fine for failing to “prevent money laundering and problem gambling”. She then booted Paddy Power up the proverbial for “encouraging a problem gambler to keep betting until he lost five jobs, his home and access to his children” and last week her handbag landed on Fred Done who was “found to have failed to meet his obligations on social responsibility and the prevention of money laundering”.

No wonder the Queen has just bestowed an MBE on the “consumer rights champion”!

Actually, that feeling of déjà vu goes back long before she even arrived at the Commission. In 2013 Ladbrokes copped a “telling off” for allowing money laundering in their shops in the North West of England. That was just before a Ladbrokes security manager revealed cover-ups on children gambling, criminality and money laundering and Coral have old form as well having been caught allowing almost £1 million to be laundered through their shops in the north east, again by a pathological problem gambler.

The new get tough regulator has ordered all monies made from the illegal proceeds be returned, donations are made to responsible gambling initiatives and costs are reimbursed.

Fred’s failures are so endemic that he has been ordered to appoint an “independent third party” to sort it all out. With Fred’s track record of linking his staff pay to the crack cocaine machines, offering 39.9% pay day loans to his own workers and then sacking them at Christmas, it will need to be a very “independent” third party or we may have déjà vu all over again.

Punters Bet Big on Remain

cameron paddypower

Since Cameron’s Conservative Party claimed a shock majority in last year’s general election, we’ve experienced an intense build-up to the UK’s European Union Membership Referendum. This week, voters of the UK will either maintain or reject its EU member state status after more than 40 years of trade and co-operation. Up to lunchtime on Monday, the odds say 1/4 to vote In (Remain campaign), and 3/1 to vote Out (Brexit) – driven by a significant new surge of bets on Remain.

Paddy Power has found that high-stakes punters seemed cagey about taking the Leave odds until recently, even at generous odds like the 9/2 that was available at the end of May this year.

In mid-June, two big polling outfits reported 7% leads for Leave when excluding undecided voters. This represented a marked success for the Leave camp, because decided voters for Exit were growing whilst Remain numbers were static. Even then customers appeared to be reluctant to accept the trend. We struggled to sell Exit at 3.5 for days. We even attracted several five-figure sums on Remain at odds between 1.18 and 1.22 during those days.

Eventually there was a take up of the Leave odds as the delayed effect of the polls was finally felt, but considering the consistency of the apparent popularity for Leave in the polls and the press, the odds did not settle as short as one might expect. In the last seven days, Exit odds dropped as low as 6/4 before stabilising at 9/4.

The big guns are out now, and punters have wagered a whopping £500k this. Two single bets of £30k were placed on Remain at odds of 1/3 – the betting support for Remain is huge and shows no signs of faltering.

Read more here…

Liar, Liar Pants on Fire

A man was seen running down Buckingham Palace road last week, with his pants on fire. With deceit fueled flames bursting out of his pants, the man believed to be Malcolm George the CEO of the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB), had been caught out yet again telling porkies to our Parliamentary representatives.

Just as lobbying smoothie, Mr George, had been telling MPs how betting shops are the safest places to gamble on the high street (implying that customers are looked after better than children at a crèche and staff with master’s degrees in gambling addiction tend to their every need), that upstart paper, the Guardian, stepped in to say, “Liar, liar pants on fire”.

In a hefty two-part piece focused on the “dangerous world of British betting shops”,  the Guardian laid bare the brutal and often violent reality of today’s betting shops – not quite the picture Mr George and his band of merry members had been painting to MPs down the road at Westminster.

Describing in detail the horrific murder and rape of betting shop staff; the violence and intimidation directed at shop workers by punters high on gambling’s “crack cocaine”, the newspaper brought forward worker after worker speaking anonymously of the daily terror they face manning the tills. All spoke of their fear – not just of punters who have lost their house, home and family to the “crack machines”, but of the interrogation and dismissal they would face if caught telling a journalist the truth.

The truth about betting shops is something the ABB CEO doesn’t want to face up to, but Members of Parliament have seen through his barrage of lies and are about to bring him and his members in for interrogation. Step forward the bookmakers’ latest nemesis, Carolyn Harris, and an All Party Group set to throw a big spotlight right on the bookies’ shenanigans. Get the fire extinguishers ready Malcolm!

Content produced and sponsored by Stop the FOBTS

FOBT Crime, Lone Staffing, Mergers, Bonuses and the Ladbrokes CEO

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It’s has been a nerve wracking time at the Ladbrokes head office on Rayners Lane in Harrow recently.

With uncertainties around the multibillion-pound Gala Coral merger and tough negotiations on how many shops the combined group will have to grudgingly sell to their competitors, what better way to keep you going than a big fat share reward bonus.  That’s ¾ million shares for the CEO and over half a million between his trusty lieutenants.  

You can imagine the shock as the shares landed on CEO Jim Mullen’s desk accompanied by a copy of the Daily Mirror article declaring, Ladbrokes staff raped and killed as firm saves millions of pounds by forcing staff to work alone.

Former Ladbrokes head of health and safety, Bill Bennett, who the Mirror revealed has turned whistleblower following incidents of rape and murder, alleged: “Ladbrokes chose to prioritise profit over the health and safety of its employees.” After being rocked two years ago with claims by a former Security Manager that incidents of criminality and children gambling had been covered up and of money laundering investigations carried out by the Police and regulator, Mr Mullen must have felt he has earned his bonus reward. Then along comes another whistle blower with more revelations.

This latest iceberg to hit the Ladbrokes ship, which insiders tell us is just the tip, has forced the ex-News International Director to try and trash his former employee’s reputation saying that after 27 years’ service he was being dismissed owing to a lack of confidence in his ability to fulfill his role.

As this latest iceberg continues to shred Ladbrokes reputation, Mr Mullen and his colleagues will be holding on to those shares very tightly indeed while his future colleagues at Coral look on with trepidation.

Content produced and sponsored by Stop the FOBTS

Get Your “Brexit: The Movie” Premiere Tickets

brexit-premiere

Guido will be wearing his black-tie tomorrow (Wednesday) and hitting the red carpet in Leicester Square for the premiere of “Brexit: the Movie”. You too can be on the the Eurosceptic A-list…

Get Your "Brexit the Movie" Ticket Here!

A few tickets are still available from Ticket Source for £20, and doors are open from 7.30 pm for 8.00 pm. (Black tie is optional.)

Get them while you can Ticket Source

Bookies, MPs and FOBT Horse-Turd

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Last week, the Gambling Commission published a damning indictment of Gala Coral. Gary Watts, a problem gambler, had stolen over £800,000 which he had lost to the bookmaker, but they had failed to realise that he was a problem gambler engaged in money laundering. A fail on both counts!

The judgement followed a Westminster Hall debate on bookies’ Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, where Tory MP David Nuttall claimed that it could not be true that gamblers are losing £300 in a minute but are also money laundering. It is apparently beyond his comprehension that some customers are money laundering, whilst others are losing £300 a minute.

Gambling with the proceeds of crime is also considered money laundering, which is precisely what Gary Watts was engaged in. This is why he got three years in prison and why the Gambling Commission required Gala Coral to forfeit the proceeds back to the victims.

However, true to the regulator’s form, no licenses were revoked and no fine was imposed on the bookie, despite Gala Coral messing up on a similar scale a few years ago. A no-lose situation for the bookies!

Two allegedly pro-horseracing MPs, the Tory’s Laurence Robertson and Labour’s Conor McGinn, expressed concern that restrictions on FOBT stakes would result in less cash for the bookies which could impact the survival of horse racing.

But betting shops have converted racing punters to FOBT gamblers with inducements such as free bets, credits and tournaments. They are also refusing bets from racing punters they suspect may actually win.

Horseracing is thriving in Ireland where, due to a sensible government, FOBTs are not allowed. The non-sense emanating from these pro-bookie MPs has an aroma of the horse’s ass variety…

Content produced and sponsored by Stop the FOBTS

Not the First Time Whittingdale Has Enjoyed the “Perks of the Job” a Little Too Much!

Strip Club 3

It has been revealed that John Whittingdale and Philip Davies did not declare a night out courtesy of the Lap Dancing Association before their select committee opposed a crackdown against the spread of lap dancing clubs.

Whilst other members of the committee saw little value in the visit, Whittingdale and Davies did not pass up the opportunity for a lads’ night out to the lap dancing club “For Your Eyes Only” before heading to another club for dinner.

It’s not the first time Whittingdale and Davies have risked the perks of the job clouding their judgement. In 2012, Whittingdale chaired a select committee inquiry into the 2005 Gambling Act. Both Whittingdale and Davies, who was also part of the committee, took advantage of trips to Macao and Australia to look at casinos, but only found time to visit one betting shop in Britain on a visit chaperoned by the bookmakers.

Before the inquiry began, Davies was taken to the races by Ladbrokes – but failed to declare this before quizzing the Ladbrokes CEO. During the course of the inquiry, the Gambling Commission failed to disclose independent research from Harvard University showing that Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) are the most addictive form of gambling.

This might explain why one of the committee’s key recommendations was to allow more than four FOBTs per betting shop – machines where it is possible to bet up to £100 every 20 seconds. The Coalition government rejected this recommendation, and Davies was forced to apologise for his misdemeanor.

Now Whittingdale is Culture Secretary and the triennial review of stakes and prizes is overdue, the question of what perks he is enjoying courtesy of the bookmakers will surely start to be asked…

Content produced and sponsored by Stop the FOBTS

Bookies “Legal Notice” Backfires

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Paddy power 29 march 2

The legal toys were definitely thrown out of the pram recently when the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) brought in their hot shot legal team, Schillings, to throw their dummies and rattles at every media outlet in the country.

Telling journalists that their members, who own around 80% of all betting shops, “don’t encourage problem gambling” and that to imply such was “defamatory”, the media legal desks could be heard quaking right across Fleet Street. Bashing the journalists with their rattles, Schillings ordered that “Our client is more than willing to engage with journalists during the preparation of stories and to provide factual material and comments where necessary”.

Paddy Power determined to test the “preparation of stories” went out of their way to encourage a problem gambler and pursued him (and his money) until he had nothing left – no job, no money and no family. Journalists fretting over the threat of defamation rapidly dialled the ABB HQ to provide “factual material and comment” – but the phone rang, and rang and rang.

A few days later, after being hung out to dry by the ABB, Paddy Power thrust themselves into the spotlight again having been revealed targeting ethnic minorities. Again journalists dialled the ABB hotline determined to give the bookmakers the chance to respond with “factual material”. “Hoorah!” screamed a journalist down the phone when a voice responded “hello ABB”. What response did the diligent journalist get? “The Association of British Bookmakers, which represents Britain’s biggest gambling firms, said it did not wish to comment.”

As Private Eye reported shortly afterwards “better luck with the legal notice next time”.

Content produced and sponsored by Stop the FOBTS.

VACANCIES – MPs Urgently Needed To Help Bookies…

Sponsored PostPaddy power 2

A week after the “social responsibility” credentials of bookmakers had been demolished by the actions of Paddy Power pursuing and pushing a problem gambler into abject poverty, Malcolm George the CEO of their trade association (ABB) told his members “In everything we do, every action we take, we must ensure that we are focused on our number one priority – protecting shops…”.[…]

+ READ MORE +

A Hibernating Sloth Has No FOBT Power

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A government minister with the energy of a hibernating sloth approached the Dispatch Box in the House of Lords last week to push back on the continuing media and political tsunami engulfing the government, the bookmakers and their £100 spin crack cocaine machines.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Remote Gambling Tax to Be Raised In Budget?

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George Osbourne Paddy Power

A point of consumption tax on “remote gambling” (the political word for online or mobile) was introduced in December 2014 and set at 15%. This is the lowest rate of tax on any form of UK gambling.

Many Tories are unhappy with the remote gambling sector.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Anti-Crime Boss in Bed with Evidence Deniers

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Guido

Keith Bristow QPM is the retired Director-General of the UK Crime Agency. He has just been appointed Chair of the Gambling Anti-Money Laundering Group (GAMLG), a new body established by the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) and the Remote Gambling Association.[…]

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Back-Scratching – the bookies and the Politician

Sponsored Post

JP_DV sponsored fobt

John Penrose MP should have had a very good understanding of FOBTs, as when he was at DCMS he was responsible for arranging the sale of the Tote to Betfred, a bargain for Fred Done, but a disaster for Tote staff.[…]

+ READ MORE +

MP’s support for FOBTs at odds with campaign against male suicide

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FOBTs_round_table - FINAL (1)

Late last year, Philip Davies MP led a debate on men’s suicide to coincide with International Men’s Day. He spoke passionately about how “over the last 30 years… more than 130,000 men have taken their own life” and “given that there was an increase in suicides in 2013, the figure for that year is nearly 5,000 men.”

“There are a number of things that are likely to affect men more than women – for example, being in debt,” continued Mr.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Are William Hill Still In FOBT Money-Laundering Denial?

Sponsored PostBetting

The Liverpool Echo recently broke the story of a police raid which led to the discovery of a cannabis farm. This led to nine arrests and three people were charged with intent to supply Class A and Class B drugs, and for a plot to launder £120,000 through bookmakers.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Rat Experiment Proves Machines Can Be Built For Gambling Addiction

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Capture

“Flashing lights and music turns rats into problem gamblers” said the University of British Colombia (UBC) in their recently published paper in the Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers built a “rat casino” to determine whether sounds and flashing lights influenced behaviour.[…]

+ READ MORE +



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