The “Crack Cocaine of Gambling” Myth

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Author Christopher Snowdon is at it again, firing back at “Britain’s nanny state” which wants to ruin our fun.

Today the Institute of Economic Affairs has published his new paper, Fixed-odds betting terminals: A briefing, which challenges the myth that gambling addiction is on the rise and that Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) – the so-called ‘crack cocaine of gambling’ – are to blame.

Read his report here

Government at legal risk because it did not take a proper look

Cameron

It all seems a long while ago now, but there used to be a Prime Minister called David Cameron. He thought he could get a good deal from the EU, sell it as a good deal to the public and easily win a Remain vote. He was blue-sky thinking with his head in the clouds.

If he had spent less time listening to Mr. Osborne, he might have had a chance to find out more about the issues concerning the wider public. Even just listening to local councils would have been a good start.

There is currently the best ever supported re-submission under the Sustainable Communities Act, by Newham Council, which is to reduce the maximum stake on FOBTs in betting shops from £100 to £2 per spin. Under the terms of the Act, government response is overdue.

Government has the power to reduce the stake without new primary legislation if there is evidence of FOBT harm. The evidence is now absolutely clear, but government has still not agreed.

In the event that government does not try to reach agreement, then there is the unprecedented option under the Act for legal action against the government by any interested party.

Mr. Cameron said in the House that he would take a proper look at FOBTs, but the blindfold provided by the bookies never came off. This is just one left-over issue that the new Prime Minister needs to urgently resolve.

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

ladbrokes-10

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.

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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…

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Six Questions the Next Government Must Answer

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Everyone’s currently preoccupied with who will win the general election.

But, whichever party takes power, there are key economic issues that need to be addressed, says the Institute of Economic Affairs.

As part of its 2020 Vision programme of books, reports, films and events, the think tank tackled the cost of living, tax unfairness, rampant regulation and more.

And it identified six crucial questions the next government must answer to secure the UK’s economic well-being.

Six Questions the Next Government Must Answer

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Everyone’s currently preoccupied with who will win the general election.

But, whichever party takes power, there are key economic issues that need to be addressed, says the Institute of Economic Affairs.

As part of its 2020 Vision programme of books, reports, films and events, the think tank tackled the cost of living, tax unfairness, rampant regulation and more.

And it identified six crucial questions the next government must answer to secure the UK’s economic well-being.

Six Questions the Next Government Must Answer

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Everyone’s currently preoccupied with who will win the general election.

But, whichever party takes power, there are key economic issues that need to be addressed, says the Institute of Economic Affairs.

As part of its 2020 Vision programme of books, reports, films and events, the think tank tackled the cost of living, tax unfairness, rampant regulation and more.

And it identified six crucial questions the next government must answer to secure the UK’s economic well-being.

Guido’s Fantasy Frontbench: Douglas Carswell as Prime Minister!

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Click here to see Guido’s Fantasy Frontbench.

Sick of the Oxbridge elite running Westminster? Ever wished you could play the part of Prime Minister and pick the politicians that most closely represent your views? Well now you can. Fantasy Frontbench (www.fantasyfrontbench.com) lets you directly compare politicians. Create your ‘fantasy’ cabinet of 22 ministers – sorting and selecting them by gender, education, age and experience, as well as how they have voted in Parliament on 75 key policy issues ranging from EU integration and NHS reform to Trident and same-sex marriage. Once you’re done, see how your frontbench statistically breaks down then share and debate it with friends and family.

fantasy

Guido has gone for a dramatic change in the front bench line-up of a 7-party coalition, headed by Douglas Carswell as PM, to transition the nation towards becoming the world’s first iDemocracy. Boris would be Deputy PM just to cheer up the country, Farage goes to the Foreign Office to be in charge of their excellent wine cellar and the Brexit.  Similarly Alex Salmond would be Scottish Secretary and Leanne Wood as Welsh Secretary. Their national exits from English taxpayer subsidies to be their policy priority.

Labour would have one member of the Cabinet, ex-para Dan Jarvis to Northern Ireland to take charge of negotiations with ex-provo Martin McGuinness. Priti Patel will go to the Home Office to oversee the return of capital punishment for paedophile kiddie killers. LibDem John Hemmings to Justice to open up the secret courts. Michael Gove to the MoD to oversee a more realpolitik approach to defence policy in the Middle East in particular. Sajid Javid to the Exchequer with Steve Baker as chief secretary with responsibility for monetary reform.

Ex-nurse Nadine Dorries to take charge of the NHS and become Minister for Women. Jacob Rees Mogg to Education, parliamentarian par excellence Alec Shelbrooke to be Leader of the House. Liam Fox to wind down the DfID before it is merged into the MoD. Owen Patterson back to DECC and my old friend Tim Aker to Transport. Lord Maude to oversee the slimming down of BIS following a 99% reduction in the departmental budget. Following an admittedly shoddy backroom deal the newly enobled Lord Al Murray will go to Culture. Click here to see Guido’s Fantasy Frontbench in its entirety.

Create your own political dream team now at www.fantasyfrontbench.com

Conservative manifesto shows their true colours

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Dale Vince, Ecotricity founder, said:

“Over the last few years we’ve watched as David Cameron’s pre-election pledge to run ‘the greenest government ever’ has slowly but surely unraveled.

“Mr. Cameron has morphed from hugging huskies to claiming we had to ‘cut the green crap’ and finally saying he’ll end onshore wind energy if re-elected: something one of his own senior MPs described as ‘blind unreasoning hostility’.  I think that sums it up well.”

The cross-party consensus on renewable energy and climate change is over; David Cameron has broken this, along with his promise. In the same week that the president of the World Bank has said we need to scrap fossil fuel subsidies to halt global warming, the Tory manifesto has pledged to continue the most generous tax regime in the world for fracking and “halt the spread of onshore wind”.

“It’s a dangerous move and an existential threat – for our climate and our country.” 

Damian McBride: My 20/1 solution to the three-pipe problem that is the next DPM

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Former political spin-doctor and pub quiz enthusiast Damian McBride takes you through the runners for the post of Deputy Prime Minister with the latest odds from Paddy Power.

If you think the outcome of the election is difficult to call, just take a look at Paddy’s superb new market on the identity of the next Deputy Prime Minister. As Sherlock Holmes said in The Red-Headed League, “it is quite a three pipe problem, and I beg that you won’t speak to me for fifty minutes.” Well, pipe at the ready, let me try and solve the case a bit quicker than that.

Favourite in the betting is ‘no-one’ at 7/4, reflecting the fact that there’s no genuine need – either constitutional or practical – for the PM to appoint a deputy. That said, we’ve had a Deputy PM in place during 27 of the last 36 years, so whether we’ve got a minority government, a majority or a coalition, there’s a decent chance the modern tradition will continue. So my fellow detectives, who are the candidates?

Continue reading

Six Questions the Next Government Must Answer

Sponsored post

 

Everyone’s currently preoccupied with who will win the general election.

But, whichever party takes power, there are key economic issues that need to be addressed, says the Institute of Economic Affairs.

As part of its 2020 Vision programme of books, reports, films and events, the think tank tackled the cost of living, tax unfairness, rampant regulation and more.

And it identified six crucial questions the next government must answer to secure the UK’s economic well-being.

HS2: Going Nowhere fast

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The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee declared this week that the government has yet to prove that HS2 is a worthwhile project.

This is ground already well-trodden by the Institute of Economic Affairs. The think tank contends that the real cost of HS2 has been grossly underestimated – and that there are much better and more cost effective ways of improving Britain`s creaking transport systems. Watch this short film “Going Nowhere – Fast” here.

NOT MUCH SIN – JUST TAXES

George Osborne may have tinkered with beer and alcohol duties in this week’s budget – but he continued to increase duty on tobacco. This approach will only serve to boost the black market for tobacco, says the Institute of Economic Affairs. And, whilst welcome, the slight reduction in alcohol duties will only make a tiny difference to even the heaviest of drinkers.

In Sin Taxes, a short film from ieaTV, the think tank says these duties continue to have a disproportionately large effect on Britain’s poorest families

THROUGH THE ROOF…

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This week David Cameron said a new Tory government would build many more new homes in the next Parliament than in this one.

But Britain`s housing problems will only truly be alleviated when suffocating regulation is removed and builders are allowed to build in areas where people really want to live, says Mark Littlewood, Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Watch the think tank`s film on this issue – THROUGH THE ROOF.

Going Nowhere – Fast

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Ready for Christmas? Ready for the tailbacks, delays and cancellations?

But it doesn’t have to be this way. As part of its 2020 Vision programme, the Institute of Economic Affairs is focusing on Fast Tracking UK Transport.

The think tank says Britain could soon be on the move again – if politicians took a back seat and allowed private enterprise to develop our roads, railways and airports.

Otherwise, the UK will just be Going Nowhere – Fast, as this stylish new short from ieaTV shows. Watch it here:

Going Nowhere – Fast

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Christmas is just around the corner – the season of tailbacks, delays and cancellations.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. As part of its 2020 Vision programme, the Institute of Economic Affairs is focusing on Fast Tracking UK Transport.

The think tank says Britain could soon be on the move again – if politicians took a back seat and allowed private enterprise to develop our roads, railways and airports.

Otherwise, the UK will just be Going Nowhere – Fast, as this stylish new short from ieaTV shows. Watch it here:

Guido Readers Free Screening of CITIZENFOUR

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citizenfourCITIZENFOUR is a real life thriller, unfolding by the minute as filmmaker Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald encounter Edward Snowden in a Hong Kong hotel room and he hands over classified documents providing evidence of mass indiscriminate and illegal invasions of privacy by the NSA and GCHQ.

The Times ****
“Completely Gripping”
Financial Times
“True-life spy thriller”
The Telegraph  ****
“Everybody needs to see it”
Guido’s co-conspirators should stay tuned for details of a free screening for readers to be announced shortly…

Defusing the Debt Timebomb

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Government borrowing is currently running 10% higher than last year – exacerbating the already parlous state of the UK’s public finances.

This week, as part of its 2020 Vision initiative, the Institute of Economic Affairs launched its new report, Defusing the Debt Timebomb.    The think tank says spending restraint, pro-growth reforms and fundamental changes to pensions and healthcare provision are urgently needed to tackle this colossal problem.  Download the report for free here.

And a new short film from ieaTV Danny and the Debt Mountain shows why this story is unlikely to have a happy ending.  Watch it here.

Defusing the Debt Timebomb

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Government borrowing is currently running 10% higher than last year – exacerbating the already parlous state of the UK’s public finances.

This month, as part of its 2020 Vision initiative, the Institute of Economic Affairs is looking at ways of defusing the UK’s debt timebomb. […] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Tory MP Nick Boles says what everyone thinks…

“There is a timidity and lack of ambition about Mrs May’s Government which means it constantly disappoints. Time to raise your game, Prime Minister.”

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