The world of politics is often controversial, with parties constantly battling each other on policies. However, Ed Miliband has thrown a spanner in the works for his own party, stating that Britain does not need to build and encourage the growth of casino commercial properties as a quick fix in stabilising the economy.
Labour have recently declared their support for expanding the gambling industry in the UK as a means of generating economic growth in a time of recession, and have even thrown their weight behind the construction of supercasino commercial properties, similar to those seen in the United States of America.
Mr Miliband claimed to be “sceptical” about the benefits casinos would bring to the economy, voicing doubts about his party’s claim that they have the ability to greatly boost economic growth.
He said; “I’m a casinos sceptic. I’m sceptical about lots more casinos. I was sceptical about supercasinos originally.
“Of course there are casinos – and nobody is talking about getting rid of those – but I always thought there must be other routes to economic development and economic growth than through loads more casinos.”
His announcement comes just days after a report released by the culture, media and sport select committee advocating the advantages casino commercial properties could hold for the struggling British economy, and calling for further relaxation of gambling laws to make the industry more profitable and accessible.
Yet Mr Miliband is not the sole voice of dissent from the Labour party, as Rachel Reeves, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, also spoke out against the proposals made within the report. She believes that relaxing accessibility laws for casino commercial properties and slot machines found in public houses is “not what we need.”
A primary concern of the majority of critics does not necessarily deal with the casinos themselves, but with those in society who suffer from gambling addictions and therefore lose thousands of pounds due to the availability of gambling websites. Many casinos now run online poker, blackjack and other tournaments, removing the necessity to visit the commercial property itself entirely.
Included in the suggestions put across in the report, addicts could choose to ban themselves from casino commercial properties to save themselves the temptation of gambling. However, there are no measures proposed which deal with the affiliated websites of these commercial properties, which also extend to betting shops and bingo halls.
Representative of Christian charity CARE, Dr Daniel Bouche, says; “Problem gamblers are just as, if not more likely, to access gambling online.
“It requires extreme determination to opt out of each individual website – illustrating the urgent need for the self-exclusion proposal to cover this sector of the gambling industry too.”
Yet issues surrounding gambling addiction were downplayed by John Whittingdale, the chairman of the select committee behind the report investigating the commercial property casino expansion plans.
He said; “Bookmakers are suffering. Casinos, also. We’ve only seen one new casino under the new rules open.
“There are a very small number who do suffer from gambling and addiction – problem gambling – and they need protection.
“But for most people gambling is a leisure activity which brings them entertainment and actually generates quite a lot of income and employment for the economy.”
Do you think that expanding the gambling industry in this country by relaxing laws for commercial property casinos is a viable step towards fixing the economy? Or do you believe that this is too big of a gamble for the leaders of Britain?
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