An addicted gambler identified only as Brian is criticizing the Jersey Gambling Commission after losing up to £250,000 in gambling losses.
Brian blamed the commission for not doing enough to protect Islanders against gambling addiction. He identified the irresistible urge to bet more as the “crack cocaine of gambling.”
Brian, 45, lost the estimated £250,000 in gambling over a period of years. But he described a scenario where he lost about £3,000 in a single day. He admits that gamblers could take responsibility for irresponsible bets, but he blames the government for allowing bookmakers to have up to four fixed-odd betting terminals in one shop.
He said when each shop has up to four fixed-odd betting terminals; there is always the risk that gamblers could lose up to £100 every 20 seconds – especially in online wagering.
Online Fixed-Odds Betting Is the Crack Cocaine of Gambling, Brian Says
In July 2011, legislators in Jersey voted that the gambling commission do all in its power to reduce the risk of gambling losses. These votes were an improvement on an existing 1964 legislation which enabled the Jersey Gambling Commission to tighten the noose on betting companies.
But Brian laments the commission has not done anything significant to protect gamblers on the Island by way of regulations. He said the instance where the States chose to raise the number of FOBTs in each shop from two to four is a deadly error that exposes problem gamblers to greater risks of losses. He added that allowing bookmakers to have up to four FOBTs is giving “bookies a license to print money.”
“You don’t even need cash to use one, you can give the bookmakers your credit card and they just put money on the machine,” Brian said in dismay. “It is the crack cocaine of gambling.”
Addicted Gamblers Should Seek Professional Help, Commission’s Executive
David Evans, deputy chief executive officer of the Jersey Gambling Commission said it is not the fault of the commission if individual gamblers would disregard commonsense while betting. He added most people gamble with utmost sense of responsibility, but addicted gamblers would do better to seek professional help.
“The commission’s website has a dedicated section to social responsibility and signposts various resources that people can use,” Evans said.
“If a person has a problem with drink, it is to be hoped that they would abstain from all alcohol, as it is the alcohol itself that drives the addiction.”