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Letters: Pandemic has been a sure bet for gambling bosses

Around 350,000 people are thought to be problem gamblers in Britain
Issue 2794
Horses with jockeys in a race leap a fence sponsored by betting and gambling firm bet365

The pandemic proved no obstacle to bet365 (Pic: Carine06)

The gambling industry, which wrecks so many people’s lives, is another one of those that has profited during the pandemic.

Accounts revealed last week showed that Bet365 made a profit of around £470 million before tax in the year to the end of March 2021. It faced an obstacle in that lots of sports events were cancelled because of Covid. But, exploding the myth that people are betting on “games they love” or have some knowledge of, other sources filled the gap.

People spent their money on virtual sports, slot machines and casino products. Gaming products such as these are associated with significantly higher rates of gambling addiction than sports betting.

Who won? Bet365 boss Denise Coates was paid just under £300 million in salary and dividends for the first year of the pandemic. Incredibly that gross sum is £170 million less than she pocketed for heading the company a year earlier. But it takes her pay and dividends over the past five years above £1.3 billion.

Around 350,000 people are thought to be problem gamblers in Britain. They are disproportionately likely to be unemployed than in work, studying or retired. They are more likely to be from a black or other minority ethnic background than from a white or Asian background.

They are hit while the gambling bosses are on a sure bet to riches.

Margaret Jeffers West London


Ukraine, refugees and the Tories’ propaganda

I wonder how the Tories and their media allies will deal with the long term fallout from the issue of Ukrainian refugees.

They have been forced to say they will admit up to 200,000 people after an outcry about their initial very narrow scheme. Yet just a few months ago we were told that 30,000 desperate people a year coming in boats across the Channel was an intolerable burden.

I am delighted that they have been forced to at least make partial retreat. But I know it will come with racist propaganda that the Ukrainians are from a white, Christian and “civilised” culture. This will be said to be different from refugees fleeing from Syria or Iran or Ethiopia.

Welcome all Ukrainian refugees. Demand more are let in. But fight the racism that sees them as a special case.

Catherine Ducali Birmingham


It’s right to fight the Silvertown Tunnel

In constructing the Silvertown Tunnel, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Boris Johnson are protecting investments and profits. They are ignoring children’s health in the borough of Newham—and 50 percent of them live in poverty. 

The tunnel project is an attack on working class people. And for some it could spell disaster.

Toxic air kills 100 people in Newham every year and airborne particulate matter Pm2.5 is 35 percent above heathy limits.

Most Newham residents do not own a car, yet the huge road project will increase heavy goods vehicles, traffic and air pollution.

This will impact the health and quality of life for those living locally. 

Children are severely affected by poor air. Children in Newham have stunted lung growth with a 10 percent lower lung capacity than other areas.

Parents and children from schools near the entrance of the tunnel are furious at the disdain for their health.

The protest last weekend (Socialist Worker, 2 March) has to be a launchpad for more revolt.

Josh Largent East London


Oppose Putin and the West too

The superpowers of the West are determined to stop Vladimir Putin and now both are squaring up to each other.

They know war is a calculated risk but, if it comes, will have no option but go all out to win. 

Arguments about who is worse are pointless. To our governments we are bullet fodder. To Putin and his cronies we are “the enemy”.

The only hope we have to avert war is to march in solidarity with our working class brothers and sisters in Moscow and Berlin to demand peace.

If our ruling class do not give us peace, we should get rid of them.

Barbara Hennessy Wigan

Some demos are now OK

It’s great to see Socialist Worker’s coverage of the anti-war movement in Russia.

It’s definitely one of the most heartening things I’ve seen for a long time.

I notice the Tories and the press are also now allegedly in favour of illegal and raucous demonstrations—so long as they are in Moscow.

Thank goodness Vladimir Putin doesn’t have home secretary Priti Patel’s police bill where he could jail people for such actions. 

John Clarke Norwich

Back the Tube strikers

I have used the London Underground for over 20 years while travelling to work.

I trust the strikers much more than I do management to look out for passengers’ safety.

Jane Villiers  On Facebook

Corbyn right on the war

Jeremy Corbyn can now give up any hope of returning as a Labour MP after he spoke at a Stop the War rally.

He didn’t rat, like those on the Labour so‑called left.

I admire him more than ever.

Furkan Sharif  On Facebook

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