The two-time European Poker Tour Main Event winner, Victoria Coren-Mitchell, gives the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals a good kicking, and GambleAware experts are worried about gambling ads influence on UK kids.
There is a difference between a poker player and a gambler. I know it. You know it. Aunt Mildred doesn’t know it, neither does Uncle Alan. Victoria Coren-Mitchell knows it.
The TV presenter and writer is a poker player who isn’t a fan of gambling. A fact we are aware off after she tore up her lucrative contract with PokerStars in the wake of their decision, in 2014, to broaden their selection of games too including online casino options.
Referring to the presence of online casino games on PokerStars and her role as a member of Team Pro, Coren-Mitchell stated on her blog at the time:
“I know in my heart that continuing in my current role could risk helping to send people to a place where they would encounter something I think is dangerous. That’s not the way I want to make a living.”
Anyone who has had to drop a contract, leave a job, or refuse the extra hours so you can spend time walking along The Great Wall of China with the family understands how difficult this decision was for Coren-Mitchell. So difficult, she was the only person who took the moral high ground during this period of transition for PokerStars.
And while that’s not the way Coren-Mitchell wanted to make a living, she is more than happy to earn a crust writing about gambling, and this week she appeared in The Guardian dragging her quill all over a piece carrying the evocative headline A Stupid Gamble on Evil Machines.
Two months ago, the UK Government decided to postpone their wholesale review of the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) until October, a move that Coren-Mitchell believes is either stupid or corrupt.
The two-time European Poker Tour (EPT) winner, leans heavily on the argument that the working class and the unemployed are the machines prime users, and that’s not a good thing, with the ability to spend £500 every few minutes.
One statistic Coren-Mitchell pulled out of Google’s ass to demonstrate the power of these machines to make money for their lords and masters was that punters lost £1k or more, 233,071 times during the period ending Sep 2016.
“FOBTs are demons, succubi,” wrote Coren-Mitchell.
The former PokerStars Team Pro, who shared her problems with table game gambling in her memoir For Richer, For Poorer: A Love Affair With Poker, admitted herself spending more than £1k in a gambling session.
“This doesn’t make me clever. It makes me a mug,” wrote Coren-Mitchell.
Here is the Guardian article.
The UK Gambling Industry Has Spent £1.4 Billion on Advertising Since 2012
Victoria Coren-Mitchell isn’t the only person concerned about gambling addiction in the UK. Featuring in a Times article this week, Kate Lampard, Chairwoman of GambleAware, has urged ministers to do something about the exposure of gambling ads to the UK’s children.
The article, which takes its data from Nielsen, shows that the UK gambling industry has spent £1.4 billion on advertising since 2012, a 97% increase by the online casino industry.
Last year, gambling companies spent £312m on ads, 63% higher than 2015, with £150m spent on TV (43%+) and £160m online (87%+). One of the problems Lampard alludes to is the 9 pm watershed, stating that kids are allowed to watch TV unsupervised, beyond the 9 pm watershed, at an increasing rate.
Gambling firms are not tied down to the 9 pm watershed. They can also advertise during Premier League games, and what young viewer of the Premier League doesn’t know the raspy voice of Ray Winston telling you to bet responsibly on Bet365?
While the Football Association (FA) severed all ties with gambling firms in the wake of criticism from the player’s union, the clubs have not kept pace. There are a more gambling companies logos adorning the front of Premier League shirts than any other form of entertainment or product.
Lampard stated that problem gambling between the ages 16-24 is twice as prevalent than the population of the UK as a whole.