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TheEditor on any
|Fruit Machines are serious
there was any doubt about the need for regulation in gambling, and that means
inclusive regulation and not just preventative, then the death of the 44th
victim in a Fruit Machine war in Paris last month should adjust your
Djilali Zitouni was a small time hood from the Paris underworld
but was shot dead in his car just off the Champs Elysees, near to the famous
Aviation Club de Paris, the only legal gambling spot for poker players for many
His business was the very profitable one of buying a fruit
machine for Ff 25,000 and installing it in an illegal back room of a bar, of
which there are thousands, and splitting the profits from the rigged machine
with the bar owner whilst supplying some unwanted protection in the meantime.
Profits easily turn to Ff 2,000 per day which can turn the lowest crook into a
Mercedes owner in a very short time.
Quite why the French authorities
don't clamp down with more regulation is a mystery as they are known to be the
government with the most red tape in the free world. It does show however just
what we have avoided up until now.
New ideas from the gambling review
indicate allowing big jackpots in bookmaker based machines and removing all
fruit machines from cafes and places where the young might get their first
taste of the addiction. This seems one of their few really good
Another is perhaps the acceptance and regulation of online
gambling. This would allow for bona fide companies to set up and register on
the mainland UK as well as advertise for UK and European
Whilst we can cheer that people are showing sense towards what
is a natural and progressive adult pursuit we must really see why this
relaxation is coming at this time. There are two reasons which spring to mind
and they are taxation and self preservation.
In the first part the
government has woken up to the fact that gambling is going to happen so why not
legalise it and tax the companies. No one complains about cigarette taxation,
they figure its hard for gambling operators to do so as well. Secondly without
change and new wide spread responsibilities, the Gaming Board and its successor
would have very little point in an age where we are becoming more circumspect
about spending our tax revenues on quangos. A bigger quango means more jobs and
higher salaries and it will make it much harder for citizens to find out what
they are supposed to be doing.
Cynical? No, its just the way things are
but if we get improvement with the changes then thats all we can expect.