The Great British Rake Off without end...

Barry Freeman
Barry Freeman
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There are times, living through what might one day be known as the Great British Gambling Frenzy (GBGF), when the average citizen might be excused for feeling like a character plucked wholesale from the pages of JG Ballard.

Specifically, from one of those myriad bleak short tales in which this masterful dystopian visionary so astutely identified an existing cultural trend or tendency then deftly extrapolated it forward and outward to a grim, yet invariably plausible outcome.

How will the GBGF end? Lacking a Ballard to envisage same for our entertainment and enlightenment one suspects we might just have to wait and see.

Nothing short of a sea-change in attitudes to the gambling industry among our political class is going to thwart our upcoming fate.

The debate on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTSs) – namely certain local councils seeking the power to limit their pernicious presence – is a start, but no more.

FOBTs have sprung forth like maggots in dead flesh wherever our ConDem economic settlement bites hardest. So much money lost, so quickly, and in a way so geared to foster addiction, that they have no place on our open throughfare.

Yet nobody talks about sweeping these economic sink-holes – whereby hard cash is sucked out of YOUR community to pop-up untaxed offshore – back to the members only casino where they clearly belong.

The idea is merely to manage the tithe legally extracted from a given administrative area. If previous experience of democratic process and its susceptibility to concerted lobbying is any guide it might just as easily come to pass that even with these powers the number of FOBTs on our streets will remains at or around current levels.

Meanwhile, an elephant in the room. A flat square maybe HD 3D elephant. Is there a prime time ad break on any channel which does not pack a plea to play the odds?

Online, in your hand, a fun smartphone app, flutter on the bus, in the pub. Bingo! See how we all laugh together, although we are at different computers, solitary sold as sociability, a virtual connection, virtual as in almost but not quite. Yet dreams can come true!

So long as you surrender your fortune to frenzied fate.