Exposing the flaws in academic arguments
Posted on September 5, 2014

In his January 2013 blog, “Terminal cases: Should virtual roulette machines be banned from high street bookmakers”, Professor Mark Griffiths presents flawed arguments, ignores relevant data and presents a view slanted to support the pro-FOBT status quo.

Griffiths explains that the 2010 British Gambling Prevalence Survey (BGPS) showed that there was elevated prevalence of problem gambling among those who play FOBTs (8.8% compared to less than 1% for the whole survey). Griffiths also explains that high-time/high-spend gamblers with the most adverse socio-economic profile – for example, those more likely to be unemployed and living in low-income households in areas of greatest deprivation – have a relative preference for betting on FOBTs.

Griffiths then asserts that, “even if the evidence was more robust”, he would justify not banning FOBTs, because “similar types of games can be accessed far more easily via the internet and mobile phones in environments that are arguably less protective towards problem gamblers.”


Attempts fail to block another betting shop
Posted on August 28, 2014

City leaders have failed in their attempt to block plans for another betting shop in Preston.

Members of the council’s planning committee went against a recommendation from officers, by rejecting proposals from Coral Racing Ltd to convert a city centre property into a bookmakers.

Coral had lodged plans to convert Leisuretime Amusements in Market Place into a licenced betting office, but councillors threw out the plans amid fears of an “over concentration” of bookmakers in the area.

Now an appeal made by Coral against the decision has been allowed, after an inspector found the proposal would “add to the vitality and viability of the city centre”.

Read the full article in The Lancashire Evening Post online.


William Hill raises stakes in tax battle
Posted on August 4, 2014

The new boss of William Hill has drawn battle lines with the government on his first day in the job by declaring that politicians could not possibly be any more hostile towards the betting industry.

The comments from James Henderson, who replaced long-serving Ralph Topping as chief executive yesterday, threaten to inflame further the industry’s fraught relations with the government, which is cracking down on problem gambling and raising betting taxes.

Asked whether the political environment was becoming more hostile towards gambling companies such as William Hill, he said: “I do not believe it can be any more hostile than it is.”

Read the full article in The Times online.

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