On Saturday I walked up to the newsagent nearest to my Dad’s in Sunderland to buy the morning papers. Inside I had to queue while two old gents bought their papers and an additional £6 and £4 worth of Lottery tickets respectively. Suddenly my problem solving way of thinking kicked in and I suddenly realised that I wasn’t standing in a newsagent at all.
Conceptually I was standing in a local gambling den. Individuals are encouraged to bet on a random event. Without us realising it we have allowed the emergence of local gambling on a massive scale which would never have been allowed if it had had to be licensed for what it actually is. Yet it is now delivered in the simplest and easiest form possible to suck poor innocents dry of their last few pounds. First it was one draw per week. then several on a Saturday, now daily, and all this is supported and advertised on the BBC, which we are supposed to own.
These two old gents should be allowed to spend their few pounds on luxury food, clothing, entertainment or heating that would make their existence more enjoyable not be tempted into the vile dream that ‘it could be you’.
Now I realise that the Lottery funds some really worthwhile projects but is it fair for that money to be sucked so insidiously from the poorest and most vulnerable people in society. Sunderland has over 15,000 of our children and young people are living in poverty surely we can’t just ignore the implications of local legalised gambling units are now spreading into every remaining local newsagent.
Local draining of money on lottery tickets must reduce the spending power of families and the elderly and have an impact on social services.
How can Councils/Govt refuse licences and planning permission for a casino in every part of town if they are not already defining their boundaries at this growing dark side before it grows too big and too dark?