Hattersley on gambling

by Richard on December 15, 2011


Supporters of the law which promoted the creation of mega-casinos — and the related decision to allow gambling adverts on television — will argue that, in a free society, men and women should be at liberty to spend their money as they choose. That’s true.
But that does not detract from the obvious truth that some freedoms are corrosive to the good society and, although they should be allowed, should not be encouraged.
And the decision to promote gambling as a weapon in the war against economic decline — shamefully taken by a Labour Government — is an affront to the idea of Britain as it was and as it ought to be.
Once upon a time, we built our greatness on engineering and textiles, shipbuilding and steel. We made railway engines for the world, our ships carried cargoes across every ocean and — even in more recent times — we aspired to play a major part in the information technology revolution.
The idea that our country will benefit from encouraging people — some of whom cannot afford it — to feed small change into slot machines is an affront to the memory of what we used to be. And, more important, it holds back — rather than encourages — the regeneration that we desperately need.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2074308/Roy-Hattersley-appalled-Britains-newest-casino-sold-family-friendly-socially-responsible.html#ixzz1gbQMBi8Z8

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }


Chris Pritchard 12.15.11 at 12:14 pm

I have a big dilemma with all this because I agree with what Hattersley rights here, but I do do the lottery and more importantly I support a football team whose current fortunes are support by the success of Bet365 one of the companies who has benefited hugely from the change in the regulations. Incidently it is my understanding the chairman of Stoke City and owner of Bet365 is also a lifelong labour supporter.


Richard 12.15.11 at 1:44 pm

I don’t have a problem about Stoke City, but you’ve managed to surprise me about the lottery! Time to repent and give it up. Trust me. I’m a minister. ;)
Seriously, though. The Lottery is an enormous confidence trick. If you have to gamble, take your pound into a betting shop and put it on three random horses from different races as an ‘accumulator’. Your chances of a big win will be significantly higher. We have very little option about co-operating with lottery funding while it exists (it has such a stranglehold on charitable funding these days), but we shouldn’t be doing it.


Kim 12.15.11 at 2:44 pm

We have very little option … but we shouldn’t be doing it.

Oh dear, the argument from “realism”. But I won’t add to the cargo of your already burden-bearing Methodist conscience by filling in the ellipses with … [use your moral imagination] … ;)

BTW, my wife plays the lottery. But she’s a Roman Catholic …


Richard 12.15.11 at 2:55 pm

Obviously, I reserve the right to be morally and logically inconsistent. ;)


Kim 12.15.11 at 4:35 pm

Tell me about it!


Mark Byron 12.20.11 at 10:13 pm

People are always looking for painless ways to raise money, and gambling always seems to be on that list. There is a lot of self-inflicted pain there to folks looking to get rich quick at low odds; it’s often the poor who wind up being on the short end of expanded “gaming.”

Strangely, it’s often the folks on the left who are pro-gambling; it sounds more appealing than raising taxes, but has more negative externalities than a tax increase.


Richard 12.20.11 at 11:09 pm

>> “Strangely, it’s often the folks on the left who are pro-gambling”

It’s interesting that you say that, Mark. I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t be true on this side of the Atlantic.

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