After reading Steven Stradbrooke’s nutshell version of the third reading of the UK Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Bill in the House of Commons on Wednesday of this week, I felt compelled to report on a moment of hilarity that sent forth a mouthful of sparkling water and spit when I came across an article on the evangelically named website Christian Today.
The article drew attention to the rejection of the ‘one stop shop’ measure, an expansion of the more commonly known’ self exclusion’ measure, that allows punters to call upon their frequented gambling establishment to stop taking bets from them after the ‘self exclusion’ clause has been invoked by the individual.
The new proposal would allow problem gamblers a way out, should their habit turn into an addiction that threatens to wreak havoc in their lives, by banning themselves from all online gambling establishments in one fell swoop. However, during the report stage, the measure was defeated by 283 votes to 223.
Nola Leach, Chief Executive of Christian Action Research and Education, who was taking part in the commons debate said: “Accessing gambling on the internet is incredibly easy. We want to help online problem gamblers to protect themselves from being drawn into compulsive playing online by establishing a national self-exclusion mechanism for online gambling.
“The current system means that to protect themselves a problem gambler has to opt-out of every single gambling website individually, an almost impossible task.
“The one-stop shop instead means that someone can make one decision to bar themselves from all gambling websites in one go.”
The feedback from the MP’s was the measure failed to gain any traction because it was too difficult and complicated to implement. And there was this old fool thinking it had something to do with the fact that gambling websites are accessed 700,000 times a year from computers within the Houses of Parliament.
I’m not sure if this will make Ms. Leach feel any better or not but the current self exclusion rules don’t always work anyway, as yours truly successfully over turned a self exclusion ban from a well known UK betting site recently just by sending them a polite letter telling them that I had seen the light.
The reason that I spat my combo of sparkling water and spit over the poor sap sat in front of me on the train, was whilst reading said article on the holier than thou website my attention kept getting drawn to a graphical representation of a hooded bear that kept running across the bottom of my screen.
“What is more fun than fighting a bear?” The ad from Betfair Live casino splurged across the screen.
Yes, Christian Today was highlighting a failure by the UK Parliament to help curb problem gambling, whilst simultaneously getting paid ad money from… a gambling site.
Let’s hope God wasn’t reading the same article I was otherwise there will be trouble.