Bookmakers found a present in their stocking over Christmas

Sacked former Labour frontbencher Michael Dugher, popped out of his Christmas wrapping into the Sun newspaper decrying Conservative plans to deal with FOBTs. Instead, he argued that the Government should be looking at problem gambling on the National Lottery – those darn dangerous twice weekly draws and scratch cards you must keep queuing up to buy. They are so much more dangerous than those £300 a minute fast action roulette machines that Dugher’s mate – the CEO of the bookmakers’ trade body – has been taken on to protect.

Dugher must have stopped reading the newspapers and conveniently overlooked the plethora of FOBT associated violent incidents being reported in betting shops when he said “Compared with alternative places to gamble, betting shops have professional staff to help punters and they are subject to stringent checks”. The professionalism of staff is not in doubt, but the ability of one member of staff, lone working in a betting shop to deal with the often violent fall-out created by excessive FOBT losses is certain to dampen that professionalism. Those “alternative places” to gamble refuse to operate their premises with one member of staff.

Dugher, who sees himself as some sort of working class hero riding to the defence of betting shops has inadvertently overlooked the fact that his own party wants action on FOBTs; the Liberal Democrats want action on FOBTs, UKIP want action on FOBTs, the Greens want action on FOBTs, the Church is getting ready to call for action on FOBTs, the Scottish and Welsh Governments want action on FOBTs, 93 Councils (mainly Labour) want action on FOBTs and even the Tories want action!

Looks like Dugher is carving out a new role for himself on the Labour back benches teaming up with Tory embarrassment, Philip Davies, in the FOBT awkward squad!

Content produced and sponsored by Stop the FOBTs

Stop the Gagging Order – Save the Free Press

MediaGuido’s Impress File has exposed Max Mosley’s state-recognised press regulator as a bunch of cranks who are unfit for purpose. Impress is the press regulator which hates the press. Now any paper which refuses to be put in Mosley’s shackles faces financial ruin.

Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act, cooked up by Hacked Off and Brian Leveson, is designed to punish newspapers for reporting the truth. Even if a paper publishes a story that is completely true it will be forced to pay costs should a legal case be brought. Even if a newspaper wins a case, it will still have to fork out for the other side’s fees. It’s a charter for anyone who fancies it – from crime bosses to celebrities, from local councillors to foreign dictators – to try their hand at shutting down stories exposing wrongdoing. 

You have just a few days to let Culture Secretary Karen Bradley know that gagging the free press with ruinous costs is unacceptable. The consultation closes at 5pm Tuesday 10 January. Take 10 seconds now to make a stand against cover-ups and for free expression, by completing this form:

If you want to read the next MPs’ expenses scandal, sign the form above…

Content sponsored by 89up Ltd.

It’s Payback Time

With Christmas just around the corner, the fight is on against Government plans to let the banks keep billions of pounds they wrongly took from innocent consumers. There are still billions of pounds of mis-sold PPI stashed away in the bankers’ coffers. And it’s no surprise that the bankers are now doing all they can to stop punters getting their hard-earned cash back. So much for the season of goodwill to all …

Behind closed doors the banks have been furiously lobbying the Government to let them shift these remaining billions onto the profit sheets used to calculate their bonuses instead of giving it back to their loyal customers. And it looks like the Government is about to cave in! They are planning a New Year cash windfall for bankers by limiting how customers can get their money back from the banks who took it illegally from them in the first place.

It’s clear that this Government has been captured by the banks. Protecting the Scrooges running the big banks instead of helping ordinary consumers. That can’t be right!

It’s payback time – don’t let them get away with it again.

Ahead of the government’s expected announcement in early 2017, the Payback Time campaign has been launched to provide a platform for supporters to lobby their representatives about the unintended consequences of the PPI proposals. Click here to find out more…

Content produced and sponsored by the Alliance of Claims Companies

Making a Marc

Bookmakers battered as Government cracks down on ‘crack cocaine’ machines” screamed a Telegraph headline last week, bringing a leprechaun’s smile to former Paddy Power boss, Stewart Kenny, who had been calling for such action for some years.

You got it, another big bookmaking boss came out against the “crack cocaine” of gambling. Mr Kenny told the Irish Government, “Let us learn from the mistake in the UK of allowing them into betting offices. Once they are in it is impossible to get rid of them or even curb their more addictive elements.” He joined the growing ranks of industry insiders, (which includes another former Paddy power boss), who are all urging action on FOBTs.

Though the Telegraph headline may have been a little presumptuous as the Government hasn’t yet announced a “crackdown” on FOBTs, but an All Party Parliamentary Group has. The cross-party group of MPs has backed a stake cut saying “Government now has clear case for significantly reducing the £100 stake”.

So, MPs from all Parties, the media, the Scottish and Welsh Governments, the public and an increasing number of bookmakers themselves all want action on FOBTs, whilst just 4% of the public are in favour of keeping them!

Marc Etches, the CEO of “Gamble Aware” – the rebranded version of the bookmakers’ FOBT lobbying vehicle, hasn’t yet caught up with the times. He is still trying to persuade the Government NOT to act and joins an ever-decreasing club of industry CEOs desperately clinging to FOBTs (or their bonuses to be more precise).

As the Campaign told the Scottish Daily Record, those who continue to defend FOBTs will have blood on their hands.

Content produced and sponsored by Stop the FOBTs

Are There Any Psycho Execs in Bookies?

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Theresa May announces crack down on Executive Pay” read the headlines this week, just as disgraced former HBOS executive, Andy Hornby, pocketed a whopping £7.8 million from the newly merged Ladbroke Coral group.

That’s right, the man who knowingly mis-sold PPI to unsuspecting UK consumers for years and made millions from it, moved on to pillage and rape yet another company – and got away with it again!

But, Hornby’s multi million windfall pales into insignificance compared to that of his boss, Jim Mullen – the CEO of the new gambling conglomerate. Rumour has it that after an extensive career at Ladbrokes spanning a whole 2 years, he is set to get over £20 million despite question marks over his handling of issues concerning the rape and murder of his staff by FOBT users.

Then you’ve got the “Arthur Daley” of the bookmaking world, Fred Done – the man who linked his workers BASIC wages to his “crack cocaine machines”, then offered them pay day loans at 39.9% APR. Walk into any Betfred shop and ask punters and staff what they think of the “Bonus King” – if you are offended by expletives, cover your ears.

In September 2016, an Australian study found that about one in five corporate executives are psychopaths – roughly the same rate as among the prison population. One wonders whether the bookmaking sector needs to recruit more psychiatrists!

Content produced and sponsored by Stop the FOBTs

BBC and Russell Howard are right about Philip Davies MP

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Tory MP for Shipley, Philip Davies or “toad faced hypocrite” as he is more commonly known, has been busy defending the “freedom” of people to be allowed to work for nothing!

He “Philip Blustered” along with David “All Nuts” Nuttall MP just droning on and on and on in order to block one of their fellow Tory MP’s Private Members Bill. All Alec Shelbrooke was proposing was that minimum wage levels should be applied to interns. We think poor Phil may be confused of the definitions of an “intern”. For the record Phil, they are not people who have been confined to prison for political or military reasons!

But, the bookmakers’ cheerleader has form on this and he gives comedians like Russell Howard the opportunity to brand him an “arsehole, a wanker and a bullshitter” on prime TV. More embarrassingly for Davies, when he penned a complaint, he was told to get lost by the BBC.

Filibustering Phil once said in a radio interview “personally I’ve got no particular objection to people having their free speech however objectionable it may be”. He was talking about the right to express homophobic and racist comments. But when it came to Russell Howard’s expression of opinion on him, he certainly took objection.

The bookmakers have been rolling old Phil out at every opportunity over the last few years to help them defend their indefensible FOBTs, because that’s what Phil does. He takes their freebies to the race courses and fails to declare it when questioning his CEO bookmaking friends; enjoys preferential treatment on his betting accounts and has to apologise over his non declarations. Maybe the BBC and Russell Howard are right about this MP.

Content produced and sponsored by Stop the FOBTs

Nanny and Baby in Unusual Relationship

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Wanda Goldwag is the CEO of the Senet Group, funded by the bookies and acting as their advertising and responsible gambling standards watchdog. A recent complaint to the ASA about a Senet “responsible” ad succeeded and Nanny Goldwag was guilty of breaching the standards she was hired to uphold!

Malcolm George is the CEO of the Association of British Babies (ABB) representing the bookmakers. He spoke at an Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) co-sponsored event at Tory Conference and was heard crying that the Panorama program on FOBTs had victimized him! This event was covered in the last issue of Private Eye as FOBT ODDITIES on page 12.

At another recent event, a debate on “Does Britain have a Gambling Problem?”, Baby George was assisted yet again by the IEA with Mark Littlewood touting his usual virus of “freedom of the individual” to be screwed by corporations.

Baby George was hired by the ABB for his Labour contacts when they thought that Labour would win in 2015. Michael Dugher MP, for a while shadow Labour DCMS with gambling responsibility, had previously worked in the private sector for Baby George.

Baby George has been spotted in Westminster with his pants on fire. Did Nanny Goldwag offer a nice big wet Senet nappy as a “political firebreak”?

Now that the DCMS is holding a “Call for evidence review into gaming machines and social responsibility measures” will Nanny and Baby both be wetting themselves? Will the evidence show that the Senet Group is a sham and that Baby is controlling Nanny?

Content produced and sponsored by Stop the FOBTs

IEA LAUNCHES £50,000 PRIZE

The Institute of Economic Affairs has just launched the Richard Koch Breakthrough Prize.

First prize of £50,000 will be awarded to the best and most innovative entry outlining a ‘Free-Market Breakthrough’ policy to tackle poverty in the UK.

There will be runner up prizes of £7,500 each, and a student prize of £2,500. Judging panel includes former Liberal Democrat MP Jeremy Browne (chair) and the Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith.

The deadline for entries is Monday, 9 January 2017.

To learn more about the Richard Koch Breakthrough Prize and the entry requirements, click here – and watch the video below!

Paddy Power Paying Out On Hillary Win

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This gutsy call sees one of Europe’s largest betting companies put their neck on the line for over $1,000,000. Prior to paying out, the former First Lady’s odds fell to a low 2/11 (84.6 per cent chance of winning) and over the past week Paddy Power have seen a flood of money on Clinton.[…] Read the rest

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2,000 business owners ask the Chancellor to scrap Osborne’s soft drinks tax

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Pressure is mounting on Hammond to ditch his predecessor Osborne’s nannying soft drinks tax. Over 2,000 newsagents, publicans and other small business owners today wrote demanding he scrap the tax.

The letters were delivered to The Treasury by the Face the Facts: Can the Tax coalition, which represents thousands of businesses from across the UK who oppose the tax.[…] Read the rest

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Return of the Blair? You must be Jokering!

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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![…] Read the rest

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Osborne’s Soft Drinks Tax Should Fizzle Out?

George Osborne may have left 1 Horse Guards Road for the glamourous US speech circuit and an odd guest appearance on the Today Programme, but his poor policies seem to keep popping up. Readers of this blog may well remember the infamous pasty tax which caused quite a stir among Osborne and his cronies who were forced to U-turn and spend the following months pecking on pasties.[…] Read the rest

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Take APCO’s party conference quiz & win a magnum of champagne!

ukpartyquiz_v1-1[…] Read the rest

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What is a FOBT?

That was the question raised last week in comments relating to our latest Guido post – “Count Snowdon and the bloodsuckers are not libertarians”.

When googling FOBT a few years ago, the top link was to Faecal Occult Blood Test, but google FOBT today, and the top link is to Fixed Odds Betting Terminals.[…] Read the rest

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U S OF A (HOLE), PIERS MORGAN BACKS US RYDER CUP TEAM

As if you needed another reason to get behind Europe for the Ryder Cup – Britain’s biggest motormouth Piers Morgan has revealed that he’s backing America, in a video released by Paddy Power. That’s right, Morgan loves America, and America loves him – or so he says.[…] Read the rest

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Count Snowdon and the Bloodsuckers are NOT Libertarians

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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![…] Read the rest

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