In the UK, recent arguments in the press have included whether children are being enticed to gamble because of Facebook casino games. However, this inquiry has branched out into arguing about the overall influence of prevalent fixed-odds betting machines and the burgeoning online gambling industry. For example, Ladbrokes and other gambling retailers have over 33,000 locations in the UK, and those firms anticipate installing over 100 more in the next year.
Are UK kids influenced to gamble by Facebook games?
Experts in the UK are stating that online games, like poker games or casino games found on Facebook, are encouraging children to form a gambling addiction. To decrease this influence, these experts suggest giving students courses in gambling to educate them on the addictive nature of online games. Suggested topics include the build-up of debts and the dangers of losing. The analogy currently being used is that the way gambling online games entice the under-16 crowd is by giving the games away for free by offering virtual money, and this hooks them into accessing paid games as they age.
Plot thickens as Chancellor fraternizes with bet machine boss
Chancellor George Osborne is currently under pressure from the press due to his personal invitation to a major betting machine boss, Luke Alvarez. Alvarez was invited by Osborne to go to a recent trade industry trip to Beijing, China. Altogether, Osborne invited 20 business leaders to go on the trip. The firm owned by Alvarez currently supplies almost 17,000 of the UK’s 34,000 fixed-odds betting machines. Osborne is being accused of caring about profits, and not the possible deleterious effects of these betting machines.
UK Labour Party favours curbing gambling
While the issue may continue to be debated in the next year, the Labour Party has confirmed that it wants limits placed on the predominate hi-tech betting machines that are a majority of the gambling industries income. For example, Ed Miliband specifically aims at the high-stakes roulette machines. Also known in bookmakers’ shops as fixed-odds betting terminals, MPs accuse bet shops of placing these facilities in the poorest areas of Britain. Research compiled by the Guardian UK newspaper shows that people in poorer areas place four times as many bets as people from more affluent areas. This, and other statistical data, is prompting talk of reform and increased taxation.