fancy a flutter?

Posted: April 23, 2012 in This is the Voice of Lefty Reason

Fancy a flutter?

Blighted British high streets in run down towns and cities; boarded up shops, graffiti and litter.  Always blamed on the rise and rise of the out of town retail parks with their car-friendly-access and hyper chain stores.  There is, however, one particular brand of high street shop that is making a comeback and positively thriving amongst the wreckage of the British high street; the Bookmakers. Not the bookies of old with their covered up windows and slightly down at heel feel but the modern glitzier, ergonomically designed, light and airy, free coffee and sarnies, sanitised versions.  All corporate colour branding and bright lights.  The growth of these new money-losing emporiums is being driven not by the old-time favourites such as the horses or the greyhounds but by a new kid on the block; the modern, high value virtual machines.  Virtual poker, virtual roulette; the only non-virtual factor is the real money pumped into the beasts by glassy-eyed punters.  The crack cocaine of the gambling industry; “players” can lose one hundred pounds a spin every twenty seconds or so.  By the way, I simply love how gamblers have been re-branded as “players” as if they are partaking in an innocent and largely cost free pastime. Like the machines, gaming addiction is on the rise in Britain; there are four hundred and fifty thousand “problem” gamblers in Britain.  Houses, jobs and marriages lost by those compelled to pop into the bookies for a quick spin of fun.  The Government, meanwhile, applauds the gambling industry profits and puts forward plans for huge casinos that will “regenerate” the areas of high unemployment that they are destined for.  Visit Australia, a country where the march of the machines is more advanced and, far from providing pleasure and fun, the compulsion and addiction results in depression, despair and debt.  In many British towns, there are more bookies than bookshops.  Stay lucky.



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