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Odds off

I believe that the Cheltenham Gold Cup was run today. That gives me a topical excuse to say something that’s been bothering me for a while now.

As a frequent watcher of TV sport, I am becoming more and more disturbed by the prevalence of betting ads and event sponsorship. Only the BBC is free from Kris Kamara and that fucking little Italian idiot. They’re on every commercial channel, along with those intellectually offensive Paddy Power ads, the unintelligible ravings of the guys in the William Hill commercials, the real Victor Chandler and his imaginary friend Maurice, the Liz Hurley re-modelled, liposuctioned  and face-lifted Shane Warne encouraging us all to play poker, and, maybe worst of all, Ray Winstone, besmirching a fine acting career by putting on his best nasal Cockney, and thrusting ‘Live odds now!’ at us in every break. when I was a boy, off-course betting was legal, but only just. The bookie’s in Motherwell was known locally as ‘The Shovel’, a term that went back to the days and when it wasn’t, and the odds were chalked on the back of a shovel or something similar so that the evidence could be wiped off should the polis happen by. The internet has changed all that. It has liberated the gambling industry and given it free rein to pander to one of the most insidious of the seven deadly sins. Greed.

Don’t imagine this is simply a British phenomenon. Spanish TV football is also accompanied by its Bet365 ads, with their Winstone equivalent. Real Madrid’s shirt sponsor is an on-line bookie.

In British society, all forms of cigarette advertising are banned, and the promotion of alcohol is regulated, although not as tightly as once it was. Fags and booze are addictive and can be family wreckers. The same is true of gambling, yet we have reached a point where we seem to be celebrating it.

Categories: General, Politics, Sport
  1. Alistair Beaton
    March 15, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    I share your concerns and couldn’t agree more.

  2. March 15, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    The scariest recent phenomena are the Roulette Machines in Betting Shops,,,,the ‘crack cocaine’ of gambling. Cant remember the exact amount spent since they were introduced three or four years ago but I’m sure it was something ridiculous like 60 billion or thereabouts.

  3. March 15, 2013 at 11:41 pm
  4. Bill
    March 18, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Recently started work in retail. Staggered by sales of scratchcards and multi-lotto purchases by those obviously less able to afford the ridiculous odds. I’m a ‘once-a-week lucky dipper’ – but I hate serving those with a 50 quid a week habit. I am, however, a complete hypocrite, with a 42 quid a week smoking habit…………..

  5. John
    March 28, 2013 at 7:19 am

    The TV coverage of NRL (Rugby league) in Australia has also been dragged into the gutter by endless ‘live odds’resulting in a parliamentary intervention to get one of the front-men kicked off the commentary panel… heavens, politicians doing something in the genuine interest of the watching patrons. Whatever next!

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