Should the media be more balanced in their views on Betting?

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The Betting Industry has taken a real bashing from the BBC recently. Last week we had the ‘’Can You Beat The Bookies?’’ presented by a guy called Lloyd Griffith who is allegedly a comedian and appeared as a character called ‘Gutbuster’ in a series of Ladbrokes TV adverts a couple of years ago. The format was for him to see if he could double his £7,500 budget in three weeks. This looked like it had the potential to be a bit of light relief from all the negative press the industry is currently getting. Unfortunately it was the same unbalanced fare that is constantly churned out where they couldn’t find one person out of the millions of UK folk who enjoy a regular flutter and just focused on people who had experienced problems (normally online casino related).

The Gutbuster really struggled to lose the money and a day before his experiment was due to end he was £2,000 in front (this surely wasn’t the plan!) so he had to think fast and decided to throw away a chunk of his money on three football games on the last day which apparently gave him no enjoyment and made him feel ill even though the £4,500  left  wasn’t his and was returned to the BBC!

The conclusions a viewer would have got after watching this show was that it was impossible to beat the bookie unless you were prepared to cheat like the  ‘courtliner’ they dragged up.

My view is that the sports betting punters have never had it so good. The choice and competition has never been higher. At Goodwin Racing our odds are pretty much middle of the road and the real value hunters who want to scoop up fancy prices probably give us a wide berth and yet 26% of our active clients are in fact showing a profit.

Yesterday Panorama’s ‘Addicted to Gambling’ show was a sobering watch. Nobody wants to see people’s lives ruined and how the two main examples were allowed to lose so much was baffling. There is no getting away from the fact that online casinos are a much harder form of gambling than traditional sports betting and my view is stakes and time between spins should be amended.

On a brighter note the two examples were from three or four years ago and things have tightened up since then. Among the improvements is that there is now a ‘Gamstop’ option whereby at a click the player is excluded from all UK Licensed gambling sites.

Was it right however for the guy who defrauded £3 million to escape a prison sentence? If someone did the same crime to help feed another addiction I’m sure they would be facing quite a bit of ‘bird’.

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