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…
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