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LETTERS—Gambling bosses use new rules to attack us workers

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Issue 2648
Wiliam Hill
Big pay cuts at William Hill (Pic: Mikey/Flickr)

From this week, betting shop customers will no longer be able to stake as much as £100 on a single spin of the roulette wheel on a Fixed Odds Betting Terminal (FOBT).

Instead FOBT players will be limited to a £2 bet.

This will have a major impact on the industry.

Betting companies have made vast profits from these machines that are rightly called the “crack cocaine of gambling”.

Gamblers’ losses increased year on year—in 2016, bookies made £1.8 billion from FOBTs alone.

That’s over £50,000 per machine, or around triple the salary of a betting shop worker.

No betting shop worker takes pleasure in witnessing the equivalent of their month’s wages being lost in a matter of minutes in these machines.

Despite responsible gambling guidelines, the onus is on the customer to bar themselves from betting shops.

But the reality is that bookie bosses care little for the untold misery caused while they’re swimming in massive profits.

Even while they’re raking in huge profits, gambling companies are squeezing us workers.

The industry has seen a growth of lone-working alongside massive pay cuts at William Hill. The Ladbrokes/Coral merger brought job losses and finished off premium rates for overtime and bank holidays. Betting shop workers will again pay the price as major bookmakers are planning shop closures and thousands of redundancies as a result of the FOBT cut.

Just a few years after cutting workers’ wages by 20 percent, William Hill have written to 2,000 landlords requesting a 50 percent cut on their shops’ rents.

Bosses claim their profits are due to be halved by the new FOBT rules.

The lack of union organisation in the betting industry makes resistance difficult, but where there is discontent there is always potential.

A betting shop worker

Address supplied

A slippery Sturgeon

Seeing Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish National Party (SNP) leader, happily posing with Alastair Campbell at the recent People’s Vote march in London truly gave me the boak.

Her alliance with Campbell shouldn’t surprise us. Sturgeon’s first interview as leader was given to the bosses’ Financial Times newspaper to reassure them they had “nothing to fear” from the SNP.

While, compared to Theresa May’s Tories, there are more progressive policy stances we can point to, the SNP leadership is nevertheless increasingly drifting to the right.

The SNP leadership push the idea of a progressive European Union yet had no criticism of its silence over the anti-democratic violence of the Spanish state in Catalonia.

Scots are crying out for change but the SNP is not the answer.

Raymie Kiernan


Emergency climate fight

It’s great to see the Labour Party declare a “climate emergency”.

This has been a key demand of both the school strikers and Extinction Rebellion activists. It shows how militant campaigning can get results.

But doesn’t that mean Labour should throw its weight behind the fights for stopping Heathrow Airport expansion and fracking?

Janet Dyer

East London

Fighting against racism on campus together

Bristol Socialist Worker Student Society (SWSS) recently worked with the Palestine Society (PalSoc) to renew a motion to boycott goods that come out of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The Free Speech Society voted against it.

It’s a right wing group that has repeatedly invited provocative speakers who threaten both the trans and Muslim communities.

SWSS and PalSoc along with the Islamic Society, Labour Society and other left student groups were successful in postponing one of its recent events.

The speaker was to speak on terrorism and Islam only days after the massacre at Christchurch.

Muslim students found this deeply insensitive and the rest of the student left stood with them in solidarity.

Sophia Beach


Team Ineos pedalling capitalism

A British cycling team—called Team Sky and sponsored by the company of the same name —will soon be sponsored by Jim Ratcliffe’s fossil fuel company Ineos.

I thought Team Sky couldn’t go any lower than sponsorship by a billionaire, union-busting media mogul. Rupert Murdoch owns 134 newspapers—all of which supported the illegal invasion of the Iraq to secure its oil.

“Team Ineos” is an affront to ethical sensibilities. The clean air, keep fit legacy of cycling we hear so much about turns out to be only an image improving opportunity for filthy capitalism.

Dave Ramsden


Get on board People’s Vote

A million people were on the streets of London for a second referendum. Most were anti-Tory and anti-racist, and many of them anti-Corbyn.

Where was Socialist Worker?

Clive Hopkins


Kick out the Tories now

I read your coverage of the establishment crisis with interest (Socialist Worker, 27 March).

But even if Theresa May goes, the Tories will still churn out more of these despicable bastards.

Paddy Hanrahan

On Facebook

  • The British ruling class only agree about one thing.

They don’t want Jeremy Corbyn to be prime minister.

Robert Venus

On Facebook

  • May is probably only saying she’ll resign so MPs vote for her deal, then she’ll change her mind and decide to stay.

She is a liar and not to be trusted.

Guy Wakeford

On Facebook

Just a general election?

I see a lot of comrades arguing that now is the time for a general election after May’s repeated defeats in parliament last week.

That’s a good demand to make. But it can’t be our only response. Remember our emphasis is on struggle to force the Tories out—not Labour’s moves in parliament.

Mollie Day


Evict all the landowners

A recent report found that less than 500 people own over 50 percent of the land in Scotland.

This is land that has been stolen from us over the centuries. And the process is continuing.

Until there is a wider movement to overthrow the capitalist system then these parasites are unlikely to voluntarily give their land away.

Gerry McCabe



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