Main Menu
No. 1 2 3
No. 4 5 6
No. 7 8 9
No. 10
In Association with
The Sony PlayStation 2  £289.99 !!
  GGG Home   | Index   | Info   | This Week   | Diary   | News   | Email GGG
15/08/2001 No.10
he Good Gambler
The Editor or one of our professional correspondants make regular contributions to coverage of the gambling world.
Email : TheEditor on any subject.
Fruit Machines are serious Business

If 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 views.

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 a mile.

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 ideas.

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 business.

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.