Count Snowdon and the Bloodsuckers are NOT Libertarians


Christopher “Silly Count” Snowdon writes for the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) which purports to be a libertarian think-tank. However, it usually “thinks” the same as the business sectors which fund it, as exposed by Dark Money and Snowdon has a particular penchant for the tobacco industry!

Count Snowdon wrote “The Crack Cocaine of Gambling?” in 2013 – an attempt to debunk the media tag line and defend the bookies’ FOBTs. He resurfaced from his septic “think-tank-coffin” and re-released the same silly drivel last week. However, he’s now gone even further, describing those whose lives have been blighted by FOBT addiction as “sad sacks”.

Could this be because FOBTs were the subject of Panorama this week, explaining how they are designed to be addictive by affecting the brain? The ABB – Association of British Bookmakers (Bloodsuckers?) were not willing to be interviewed by Panorama. But they had their usual irrelevant responses. But now the new Prime Minister, Theresa May is calling time on their FOBT shenanigans.

It is not “nanny-state” to require sensible enforcement by an empowered regulator of sensible gambling regulations. Gambling should never be regarded as a “free-market” issue.

It must always be remembered that FOBTs were introduced illegally by bookies before they were regulated and the status quo rewards the bookies’ illegal conduct.

Content produced and sponsored by Stop the FOBTs

Philip Davies MP – Bookies Leading Tool in Parliament Needs Suspending


Tory MP Philip Davies was the clear leader of a group of MPs exposed in a recent Private Eye article, for accepting freebie hospitality trips from the bookies. Caroline Nokes, another Tory MP and John Mann, Jim Dowd, Justin Madders and Toby Perkins from the Labour Party all accepted around £500/600 in freebies from the lobbying bookies, but Davies beat them all with £3,000 of freebies.

What makes Davies, who besides having a bit of a problem with women, is anti-gay marriage and thinks disabled people should work for less, so popular and valuable to the bookmakers? He’s the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Betting and Gaming Group.

This is a group that produces glossy brochures after inviting bookmakers and their cohorts to make speeches. Those speakers include bookmaker trade chief, Malcolm George, who took exception to a article about his pants being on fire. Did Schillings, the bookie’s lawyers, set off a fire extinguisher? If so, why are Mr George’s pants still burning strongly?

No-one who opposes bookies’ FOBTs (the high-stake, high-speed roulette machines) is ever invited to speak by Davies. As a result, Parliamentarians get a bookie-biased briefing organised by a man who gets a raft of freebies from them! This financial interest was not disclosed in a glossy brochure that he sent to the Parliamentarians.

Whether or not the Tories suspend Mr Davies for his “feminist zealot” views, he should be suspended for financial interest and non-disclosure.

Davies has no shame where he takes his freebies from and has a lot of form with the bookies, but other MPs should be wondering why the bookies are now so keen to “freebie” them!

Content produced and sponsored by Stop the FOBTs

Betting shop violence and crime – Will the Prime Minister take action?

There’s always someone kicking off” was a newspaper headline this week, but unusually the article wasn’t about the political turmoil. It was a former shop worker referring to his spell of working in betting shops during which time he saw chairs being thrown, machines being smashed and customers biting each other’s ears off.

Coincidentally, a confidential Flying Squad file containing statistics on armed robberies across commercial premises in London was leaked to the Guardian which revealed betting shops as a “big concern” to the Police. Not surprising considering 50% of all incidents attended by the Flying Squad were to betting shops. The criminal world has shunned banks who accounted for just 17 armed robberies in favour of betting shops which had 167 incidents.

Meanwhile Westminster City Council threw the book at William Hill for allowing one of their shops in London to become a centre for drug dealing and taking, the sale of stolen goods, consumption of alcohol and anti-social behaviour. A nearby Coral shop in London was also reprimanded for disabling 999 calls from shop telephones to prevent staff calling the Police. You couldn’t make it up!

One former Flying Squad chief and a former Head of Retail Security at Ladbrokes has seen enough. Pointing to the murder and rape of shop staff at Ladbrokes he said “the industry is putting profit ahead of staff safety”.

With the former crime busting home secretary Theresa May now Prime Minister and wanting to clamp down on boardroom shenanigans, when she has finished with Philip Green, she may want to take a close look at the bookmakers, starting with Ladbrokes CEO Jim Mullen.

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Retiring Gambling Commission Chair Failings Exposed

philip graf 7

By special reporter Fill Graph

Britain’s betting shops are now the “most violent in the world” was the Daily Mirror headline last week, following the start of a Parliamentary inquiry into “crack cocaine” gambling machines.

With 999 calls from betting shops reaching record levels, attacks on machines and staff spiraling out of control – all in the same week the gambling regulator revealed that losses on the now infamous FOBTs had reached a record high at £1.7 billion.

Digging deeper the actual amount lost on betting shop FOBTs has increased in the last 18-months by £130 million or 8.3%. So bookies’ profits from the crack cocaine machines are increasing per machine and per shop.

Yet, over this same 18-month period betting shop customers have been bombarded with “responsible gambling” messages. They’ve been “protected” by a bookmaker established and funded watch dog that has so far failed to bark at anything. They have seen government led measures pushing them to sign up to loyalty cards allowing bookmakers to pursue them for more money by email and text message. So much so – since 2012 the bookmakers who are crying poverty over tighter regulations and higher taxes have only managed to spend £0.5 billion on TV marketing.

As the bookies FOBT bandwagon rolls on, so does the retiring Chair of the Gambling Commission Philip Graf, who will be speaking at the Royal Society of Arts on Tuesday July 19. His latest statistics, whilst trying to mask the rising figures behind the FOBT juggernaut steam-rolling our high streets, can’t hide the fact that every measure to tackle the issue under his Chairmanship of the regulator, has failed and failed miserably.

As Fill Graph says “Commission statistics do not highlight the FOBT truth – that more FOBT profits mean more FOBT addicts and more FOBT crime!”

Sponsored by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling

FOBTs are not FUN – Stop Now!


Wanda Goldwag, the Chair and Independent Standards Commissioner of the Senet Group, says – “When the Fun stops – Stop” and the tagline of her apparently independent Senet Group is “Promoting Responsible Gambling Standards”

Wherever does this “fun” concept come from? Since when was gambling a laughing matter or a kids’ activity?

The Senet Group only promotes standards relating to advertising and marketing. Of the £3,000,000 funding provided by its members (Coral, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, William Hill and Scotbet), £2,251,000 was spent on “advertising and communications” out of a total spend of £2,677,000. There is no accounting for the money they spent on “aggressive” lobbying of Scottish politicians – coincidentally who are about to clamp down on FOBTs!

There were 35 complaints to the Senet Group in 2015 of which only one was upheld but no sanction applied. This was because human error caused the “responsible gambling messages” to be below the percentage standard for window dressing!

Ms Goldwag has about as much authority over the bookies as a hen in a fox’s den. Her CEO, Ron Findlay, also quit recently. Clearly the fun stopped for him.

Meanwhile all gambling sectors combined only contributed £6.5 million towards gambling research, education and treatment in 2015. Clearly the bookies are having more fun spending their loose change on Wanda.

How does Ms Goldwag profess to be independent when her salary is paid by the bookies, the standards she sets are agreed with the bookies and when the complaints procedure does not result in sanctions?

There is no evidence that “responsible gambling messages” have had any impact on reducing the totality of FOBT harm. Surely a better approach would be to deter anyone from FOBT gambling by promoting “FOBTs are not FUN – Stop Now!”

Content produced and sponsored by Stop the FOBTS

“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.[…]


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


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.  […]


Get Your “Brexit: The Movie” Premiere Tickets


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.[…]


Bookies, MPs and FOBT Horse-Turd

horse 2

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.[…]


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.[…]


Bookies “Legal Notice” Backfires

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.[…]


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…”.[…]


A Hibernating Sloth Has No FOBT Power

Sponsored post


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.[…]


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