Andy Winter’s column: “I saw a man in tears because of the game” Brighton News

When I was about eleven or twelve years old, on my way home from school on a Friday night, I first encountered the “shell game”.

The shell game is an old conjuring trick where a pea is hidden under one of three identical shells, and they are then shuffled by the operator in full view of the audience who must guess which shell the pea is under. It can also be played with balls and cups.

This Friday evening in the center of Cape Town, rather than seashells, it was bottle caps. And he was not an entertaining magician. It was a bunch of crooks. The ringleader “allowed” his accomplices to win a few more tricks than they lost, “earning” a reasonable gain for themselves.

What followed haunted me for over 50 years. A worker from the nearby docks, who had just received his weekly salary, was on his way to his inn. He is said to have been a migrant worker, forced by the apartheid regime to leave his family hundreds of miles away, to work for 50 weeks at a stretch, often in the gold mines of the Transvaal or, for that matter, on the quays of the Cape. .

Within five minutes, it had been cleared by the gang. He didn’t stand a chance because he was cheated out of his meager salary. When his last Rand was gone, he tearfully begged the ringleader to return some of the money as he had nothing to send to his family. The scammer just laughed in his face and disappeared into the curious crowd that had gathered, leaving the victim, an adult in his thirties, sobbing on the sidewalk, utterly humiliated, broken and broken .

Since that day, the idea of ​​losing money while gambling has made me sick to my stomach. I guess I react this way because I am attracted and could have been susceptible to the false seduction of a quick win. I buy a lottery ticket most weeks and, like many others, have fantasized about what I would have done if I had won the £186million EuroMillions.

Gambling is a major cancer in our society, destroying lives, breaking up families and impoverishing communities.

A recent survey by YouGov revealed that 1.4 million people in Britain are injured by gambling and 1.5 million more are at risk. Gambling advertising is in your face just about everywhere, especially in sports.

Half of all Premier League football teams have gaming companies advertised on their shirts. Meanwhile, the English Football League, Championship and Divisions 1 and 2 are sponsored by Sky Bet, earning clubs £40m a year. Almost every sport on television comes with saturated commercials for game companies.

The two football teams I support have contrasting relationships with the gaming industry. Stoke City, which I have supported all my life and currently play in the league, is not just sponsored by a gaming company, but the company owns a majority stake in the club. The president of Stoke City is a director of this company while his daughter is the founder, majority shareholder and co-director general. In October 2019, Forbes magazine estimated his net worth at $12.2 billion. In 2020, she received a salary of £422m with an additional dividend of £48m.

There are definitely a few winners in the game.

Lewes Football Club, on the other hand, has made calls to “eliminate gambling advertising from football”. He points out that 450,000 young people between the ages of 11 and 16 gamble and that at least 55,000 are already addicted. It turned down gambling sponsorship money and in 2019 was the first football club to sign up for ‘Gambling with Lives’, a pioneering gambling education programme. ‘Gambling with Lives’ was created by families bereaved by gambling-related suicide and highlights that “every day someone in the UK takes their own life because of gambling”.

The club affixed the “Gambling with Lives” logo to the front of the men’s first-team shirt to oppose the saturation of gambling sponsorship in the game.

As part of the program, men’s first-team goalkeeper Lewis Carey shared his own experience of the misdeeds of the game. He became addicted to the game at the age of 18 shortly after signing his first professional contract. He said it had a serious impact on his mental, physical and financial well-being for several years.

The government is reviewing the Gambling Act 2005 to ensure gambling regulations are fit for the digital age. A ban on advertising on football shirts is one measure being considered. My message to the government is: “Do it”.

For more information on ‘Gambling with Lives’ see their website

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This notice was published: 2022-06-08 04:35:00

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