Monday, 28 January 2013


I sat down twice last week to write something and then ended up writing about something else.  I wonder what it is I originally intended to write.  Do you ever do that?  Sit down to rant about something and then find yourself starting to write something else?  That's what comes of having so much to say that's important and world-changing I suppose.

I think I was going to comment on the boom in online gambling in this country.  Of course telephone gambling has been around for a while.  I believe betting on anything other than a set number of sports is still illegal in the States.  Here, you can bet on anything.  And I think it's legal for Americans to bet in the UK.  When I was working in London almost 20 years ago, I needed to keep abreast of public mood in the US during the Presidential elections.  One good indicator was the telephone betting from the States on one or other candidate.  I had a contact in one of the betting companies, through whom I 'knew' before many others that Clinton was going to win comfortably.

But the advent of mobile phone betting has transformed the industry.  I was going to say how interesting I found it that casino gambling is promoted by attractive young ladies, but football and poker is promoted by rugged males.  Bingo on the other hand is promoted by suggesting that there is some sort of fun community involved.  The truth is that it's a lonely old game - you lose your money in sad isolation, not in company with partying friends, or rugged men, and certainly not attractive females (family excepted of course).  Anyway, that's presumably the demographic - mature men gamble on football and poker, women on bingo, and young men on roulette.  The only issue here (apart from the morality of inducing people to gamble away their money) is that it appears to be legal to advertise on TV before 9pm.  I was trying to watch the Africa Cup of Nations this afternoon and was constantly bombarded with ads for gambling.  So kids are exposed to these ads too.

There has been an extraordinary increase in the gambling industry, perhaps underlined by all the ads.  If you watch football on TV, almost every ad is for gambling.  During early evening TV, most ads are for bingo sites.  And so on.  So no surprise to learn that Brits now spend £2b on online gambling (I'm not sure about the period of that payment, perhaps this is just the value of the industry?) and that there are now 500, 000 addicts.

Anyway, that's what I was going to comment on.  Despite the £2b industry, and the 1m people at risk of addiction, advertising has become even more seductive and frequent and earlier.  I don't know anything about the millions who do gamble online, but I suspect there are many young and many who can't really afford it.

I was also going to post some pics of my road.  Here are a couple and one on the main road.  I thought they were pretty.

SBP 3 001

SBP 3 002 

SBP 3 010 

I haven't, in the process, mentioned my holiday.  I'll try too post something later.


  1. You have more snow and look more like Canada than we do.

  2. I watch very little 'commercial' TV, the majority of my viewing is done on various BBC channels, so I wasn't really aware of just how prevalent these adverts for gambling are. Perhaps some consideration should be given to limiting the amount of gambling advertisments overall, and particularly at times when children are most likely to see them.

    1. Sorry, forgot to add that I like your snow shots, particularly the third one.

    2. Thanks, Mitch. I found it extremely hard to take good pics, even though everything looked magical for a day. The third and fourth ones I took from the window of the car on my way home . . . .

    3. On the online gambling, the ads do of course say that no one under 18 may gamble. But wonder howthey know.