Anorak News | All Bets Are On

All Bets Are On

by | 20th, October 2004

‘IT’S a safe bet that Tony Blair is already looking for his non-existent reverse gear after the Government’s plans to turn Britain into a giant casino met with predictable outrage.

Den of iniquity

If the warnings in the papers are to be believed, every high street in the country will soon look like Las Vegas as a result of what the Telegraph calls the biggest shake-up of gaming and betting laws for 40 years.

And we will all be walking around like zombies, a nation of 60 million gambling junkies muttering something about how we should have put it all on red.

But when this happens – as it surely will – it will not be for the reasons the papers think.

It won’t be the liberalisation of gambling that turns us all into a nation of Michael Owens, but ironically the tightening up of the rules for children.

The Times says, as part of its attempt to be seen to be tough on underage gambling, the Government is considering banning traditional fairground amusements such as the “penny fall” and the “grab a toy” machine.

Ministers apparently believe such a move would head off opposition to their plans for super-casinos and appease church groups who believe that such family entertainment centres are gateways to adult gambling.

We at Anorak believe the reverse to be true.

Generations of children have been brought up on such machines to learn one vital message – gambling doesn’t pay.

How many times have we waited in vain for that cascade of money that the introduction of our coin into the penny fall promises?

How often have we positioned the grabber perfectly over the cuddly toy, only to see it slip from our grasp as we tried to extract it?

If the British government is looking to devise a punishment for rogue cleric Abu Hamza, they could do worse than replace his hook with a grabber from an amusement arcade.

Far from being enticements to gamble, these machines are a cheap way to teach our children that otherwise expensive lesson – the house always wins.

And, as for Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell’s assertion that children and gambling do not mix, clearly she has never attended one of Anorak’s baby-brawling bouts.’

Posted: 20th, October 2004 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink