Guardian newspaper columnist proposes nationalising the gambling industry in the UK

News on 28 Mar 2018

The generally anti-gambling newspaper The Guardian published an op-ed article by columnist Sam Wolfson this week suggesting that the solution to Britain’s gambling problem would be to nationalise the industry.

Wolfson acknowledges that he is a recreational gambler, and opines that gambling is now so embedded in British society that it is impossible to ban…but nationalisation would provide more closely regulated and less profit-driven activity, making it possible like the lottery to channel money into grass root sports, community projects and charity.

“There is absolutely no reason, however, why betting shops and online sites should not be nationalised, in the same way the lottery is. You don’t have to be a radical socialist to think that private bookmakers shouldn’t be given a licence to print money. Private companies would be able to bid to run betting shops, as Camelot runs the national lottery, making 0.5% profit on each ticket. But the vast majority of profits could go back into grassroots sport, community projects and taxes,” he wrote.

“With a single government owner it would be infinitely easier to stop problem gamblers moving between bookies and stamp out dangerous money laundering.”

Wolfson goes on to say that the idea was first floated in 1976 when the Tote suggested that  all bookmakers should be nationalised.

“If it had happened we’d have had billions in government revenue and a controlled gambling environment. Instead we got high streets overrun with bleak betting shops, apps that pass British earnings into the accounts of faceless foreign casinos.”

Read about it here

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