Crackdown on foreign internet gambling operators amid addiction fears

BingoT

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Dec 16, 2004
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Hartford,Ct
Crackdown on foreign internet gambling operators amid addiction fears

A dramatic crackdown on online gambling firms could result in hundreds of foreign operators being forced out of Britain.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt is planning to stop companies based overseas from advertising in this country amid mounting concern that millions are becoming addicted to gambling.
He is also considering a ban on the use of credit cards for internet gaming to stop people risking money they do not have, the Daily Mail has learned.
The moves would drive hundreds of foreign firms out of this country, officials believe.
They would involve tearing up large parts of Labour’s controversial 2005 Gambling Act, which is blamed by critics for a dramatic deregulation of the industry.
A senior government source said: ‘Ministers are concerned about the explosion of internet gambling advertising since Labour relaxed the gambling laws.
Changes the Government want to make would help protect the public from gambling companies that don’t meet UK standards but have been allowed to profit from Labour’s lax approach to internet gambling.’
Experts say around a million children are addicted to gambling and Labour’s lenient gaming laws are largely to blame. They warn that vulnerable children have become hooked after casinos, bookmakers and betting websites were allowed to advertise on TV.
Under the Gambling Act, any company that holds a licence for online gaming in the UK must carry out stringent checks to prevent children playing highly addictive games. But only operators who locate their key equipment in Britain are required to be licensed by the Gambling Commission.
By POLITICAL EDITOR
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jstrike

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Europe
Experts say around a million children are addicted to gambling

Ah, the British. The more the ultra-rich in the UK treat their excess population like cattle, the more people act badly, and the more excuses the government has for totalitarian control. What kind of blatant lie will their government invent next? First it was that third-hand-smoke kills... now there are a million children addicted to gambling. Lol. I refuse to go to Britain because of their DNA database. And I won't walk down the street in a country that puts cameras on me everywhere I go. Suffocating, nanny state bullshit. Meanwhile, they hate themselves so much they can't wait to be turned into an Islamic state. Not a word that's come out of their government's mouth has been true since Winston Churchill died, and a lot of that was probably BS too.

Britons need to grow a spine and do something about their government, instead of trying to commit cultural suicide and letting themselves be kept in a constant state of fear and total lack of privacy.

Truth is, the gov't there can't ban booze or gambling because then they'd actually have angry people on their hands. So instead they'll just tax it to death until the people don't remember what it was like to live in the free world, and then ban it later.
 

vinylweatherman

You type well loads
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Oct 14, 2004
Location
United Kingdom
Ah, the British. The more the ultra-rich in the UK treat their excess population like cattle, the more people act badly, and the more excuses the government has for totalitarian control. What kind of blatant lie will their government invent next? First it was that third-hand-smoke kills... now there are a million children addicted to gambling. Lol. I refuse to go to Britain because of their DNA database. And I won't walk down the street in a country that puts cameras on me everywhere I go. Suffocating, nanny state bullshit. Meanwhile, they hate themselves so much they can't wait to be turned into an Islamic state. Not a word that's come out of their government's mouth has been true since Winston Churchill died, and a lot of that was probably BS too.

Britons need to grow a spine and do something about their government, instead of trying to commit cultural suicide and letting themselves be kept in a constant state of fear and total lack of privacy.

Truth is, the gov't there can't ban booze or gambling because then they'd actually have angry people on their hands. So instead they'll just tax it to death until the people don't remember what it was like to live in the free world, and then ban it later.

The British have been known for their tolerance of the intolerable, and tend NOT to take to the streets as readily as in other countries. This has allowed the government to take liberties, and feel that lack of "rioting" means that what they did was OK, so they push harder.

This is not entirely true though, and I remember when lorry drivers "snapped" over £1.20 per litre petrol and diesel, and in a mere THREE DAYS had Labour doing a hard U-Turn, and making promises to keep the price down. We are closer to a repeat of this than the current government thinks. Students took tuition fees "on the chin", but they too finally "snapped" last year, taking to the streets after yet ANOTHER massive increase in these fees was announced.

Labour expected many more gambling firms to get a UK License than did. This was very naive of them, and the cause was their insistence of applying tax at 15%, and then whitelisting jurisdictions who taked at a mere 2% or less, and had lower standards. The result, MALTA got all the "action", not the UK.

They were also rather lax in not considering the danger of allowing CREDIT cards to be used for gambling, and it has been the card companies, not the government, that have begun to appreciate the problem. Many card companies changed their terms to move gambling from "purchases" to "cash advances", which carry a MUCH higher rate of interest, and with NO "interest free period". This reflected the high risk of bad debt down to gambling addiction, but they didn't want to lose out on the PROFIT altogether by an outright ban.

Banning CREDIT cards would be a GOOD thing. I would make it less easy to use debt to fund "chasing" behaviour, or keeping an addiction unaddressed before things REALLY got out of hand.

The danger is that they will swing too far the other way, and end up "nannying" people who do not need it.

The industry have done themselves no favours either, by having terms and conditions that would be ILLEGAL under UK consumer protection laws, but that leave UK players with little redress because of the offshore location of their company.

The Gambling Commission have already expressed concerns that many of these "jurisdictions" have simply done it for the money, with NO intention to actually POLICE what the operators get up to (Malta again:p)

The TV advertising and sponsorship has given a great deal of legitimacy to these companies, so we have 888.com advertising on prime time TV, yet using "spirit of the bonus" clauses to arbitrarily confiscate winnings even when NONE of their "illegal under UK law" terms were actually broken.

Apart from a ban on CREDIT cards, the focus is likely to be on advertising, with a specific license needed to be allowed to advertise in the UK, along with stricter controls on said advertising.

Tobacco is legal, yet CANNOT be advertised AT ALL on TV, so just because something is legal, it does NOT mean the government will allow it to be advertised. Like tobacco, there could even be a total ban on TV advertising of online gambling, and restrictions on advertising through other media.

From March 1st, the powers of the ASA will be extended to the internet, which means even an internet site targetted at UK players will be required to meet the UK standards. ANY operator based in the EU can be "got at" by an enforcement from the ASA, but OUTSIDE the EU is also OUTSIDE of the whitelist arrangements.

This will ALSO cover the way AFFILIATES promote casinos, so UK based affiliates in particular (especially the rogue ones) need to ensure they meet ASA guidelines, lest one of their players makes a complaint after feeling an offer was not given as advertised.

Operators that have "Neteller hatred" in their terms need to consider the impact a credit card ban would have, since this could mean eWallets become the ONLY way UK players can easily make deposits. Other than cards and eWallets, other deposit methods are much more involved, and require a wait between making the deposit, and the funds being available for play.
 

jstrike

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Europe
Well, thanks for the very detailed inside view.

You're talking to someone who thinks that a ban on tobacco ads is a totalitarian attack on freedom of speech, and that any government who tries to ban any individual's activities in any way (that don't result in the death or injury of another person) should be overthrown.

But if I put my politics on the side and look at this from a player's perspective -- how much do I want a government "looking out" for me and protecting me from scams and crooks? Not much, because every time they do they end up taking a big huge chunk out of my wallet. Even the "cheap" places like Malta put exorbitant costs on licenses, and what ends up happening is players get screwed. Because not only do they not do their job regulating, they make it so expensive to do business there that of course the costs end up getting passed on to the players. I mean, who's paying that licensing fee? It comes out of the paybacks, not the profits.

Plus there's the fact that you just can't control what you can't control, and it makes you look bad when you try. The US has been drowning in this crap for years now, and they still can't control what their own people do, let alone what people do everywhere else in the world.

At the end of the day, governments have to either act sanely to protect their citizens, or act like mafias that stick their fingers in everybody business and take everything they can...and when they do that, it just ends up hurting their own people. Blocking credit cards might be a great idea to stop kids gambling, but how about teaching parents not to leave their kids sitting at home, unsupervised, with a credit card? How about repealing those ridiculous laws that make it illegal to slap your kid's ass? Then we can get back to a sane world where decisions are made by adults and not everybody has to suffer because the stupidest person in the room has an even dumber child who can't be controlled.

A million children addicted to gambling, hah. If it's true -- and I can't believe it is -- then the problem definitely lies with the government taking away parents right to discipline their kids, instead of encouraging them to do it.
 

vinylweatherman

You type well loads
Joined
Oct 14, 2004
Location
United Kingdom
Well, thanks for the very detailed inside view.

You're talking to someone who thinks that a ban on tobacco ads is a totalitarian attack on freedom of speech, and that any government who tries to ban any individual's activities in any way (that don't result in the death or injury of another person) should be overthrown.

But if I put my politics on the side and look at this from a player's perspective -- how much do I want a government "looking out" for me and protecting me from scams and crooks? Not much, because every time they do they end up taking a big huge chunk out of my wallet. Even the "cheap" places like Malta put exorbitant costs on licenses, and what ends up happening is players get screwed. Because not only do they not do their job regulating, they make it so expensive to do business there that of course the costs end up getting passed on to the players. I mean, who's paying that licensing fee? It comes out of the paybacks, not the profits.

Plus there's the fact that you just can't control what you can't control, and it makes you look bad when you try. The US has been drowning in this crap for years now, and they still can't control what their own people do, let alone what people do everywhere else in the world.

At the end of the day, governments have to either act sanely to protect their citizens, or act like mafias that stick their fingers in everybody business and take everything they can...and when they do that, it just ends up hurting their own people. Blocking credit cards might be a great idea to stop kids gambling, but how about teaching parents not to leave their kids sitting at home, unsupervised, with a credit card? How about repealing those ridiculous laws that make it illegal to slap your kid's ass? Then we can get back to a sane world where decisions are made by adults and not everybody has to suffer because the stupidest person in the room has an even dumber child who can't be controlled.

A million children addicted to gambling, hah. If it's true -- and I can't believe it is -- then the problem definitely lies with the government taking away parents right to discipline their kids, instead of encouraging them to do it.

It's true, and is largely down to Fruit Machines. It is perfectly LEGAL for children of ANY age to play the "seaside" category of thse AWP games, and THIS is where it can start.

I started playing these machines when I was barely old enough to reach the slot, but it was ONLY available to me on the one week family seaside holiday. Kids who LIVED at these resorts could play EVERY DAY, and some did so. With the games now available at home on the computer, and widely advertised, it is no wonder kids graduate to these games, and will sometimes find a way around the various checks, which on the whole are NOT done until a WITHDRAWAL is submitted.

Parents often underestimate how "street wise" their kids are, and often don't really understand how the internet works. They may NOT realise how EASY it is to use just the DETAILS copied from a parent's card to gamble online, and with the sometimes obscure nature of the "billing descriptor", small deposits might look like one of many minor purchases made by the parent.

Kids can get "electron" cards when younger than 18, and these CAN be used at casinos. If casinos assume a card account means a player has to be 18, they are wrong - this ONLY applies to CREDIT cards.

By far, the most draconian controls are applied to smoking, and some of the laws stray WELL outside the stated aims of protecting other non-smokers from "second hand" smoke. It is even illegal for someone to consent to work in an environment where they may be exposed to second hand smoke, even if they are smokers themselves. Another law also makes it illegal to provide a specific area for smokers to indulge themselves away from those who want to avoid the second hand smoke, even though ONLY smokers will be in such a place. Effectively, smokers are being protected from each others second hand smoke by the law. Some businesses are faced with going bust because most of their customers were smokers, yet are REQUIRED to go bust, rather than be allowed to weigh up the risks and benefits themselves of working in a smoke filled environment to keep their business going and keeping their smoking customers.
 

jstrike

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Joined
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Location
Europe
Effectively, smokers are being protected from each others second hand smoke by the law.

Not to get off topic here, but that's another main reason I won't travel to England, even on business. As a kid raised in Vegas, I'm a militant smoker and I don't want to go somewhere I'm gonna be treated like a second class citizen.

Anyway, back to the point, I agree that verifying age is a big problem with online gambling, but I think there are better ways to solve the problem than by punishing innocent adult players and raising huge taxes on everything. Same with alcohol and cigarettes. Parents don't realize their kids are streetwise, well... I don't see how that's someone else's problem. The credit card companies should investigate and refuse chargebacks if someone's kid did the buying. Make the parents eat the cost, send the kid to reform school. Send the parents to debtor's prison, maybe that makes sense. What doesn't make sense is punishing adults with all kinds of taxes, and making us listen to this bullcrap about "the children". I like that you can swear on the CM's board, because it gives me a chance to say, Fuck the children. Everything good about life is bad for children. If governments had their way, we'd all be classified as children. That's what makes all the bad things so good. Smoking, drinking, gambling, nakedness, debauchery. Man was put on earth to drink it all up with a big straw. So a government that puts children ahead of adults is just looking for excuses to take away our natural right to pleasure of all kinds. "The children" doesn't exist, because good children know not to touch Dad's wiskey, or they'll get a beating. They exist as a group the same way "The people" existed in soviet russia, or "aryan menschen" existed in nazi germany. They're just an excuse. And the people buy this crap because they're fed a constant stream of garbage. Why, just the other day I was watching British TV and saw a commercial for special diapers for six year old kids that they can put on themselves, for the "bedwetting phase". Because it can damage their self-esteem if their parents "find out" they're wetting the bed at age six. Given 20 years, they'll have these for the same kids at age 26.

Right, I'm gonna quit ranting and get back to work, obviously not making sense. I just see this whole picture -- training the kids for slavery, while enslaving their parents -- and I don't like it. I wish to hell the Brits and Americans would just stand up on their hind legs and shut this whole sick lottery racket down tomorrow, before it turns a whole generation of kids into mindless robots.
 

felicie

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somewhere else
And from an American viewpoint, I'd say we are all living/serving under the same dictator.:(
I've often wondered why, in this forum anyway, it is only the Americans that rant and rave about their loss of personal freedoms and had also come to the conclusion that either socialism was really working well in other countries or, and this is my first choice really, that if you never had something to begin with, how could you miss it thereby causing a lack of complaining by the people. There is of course a 3rd theory that came to my mind and that was fear of reprisal for complaining but we don't even want to go there.
So it is really interesting and I thank you both for a little extra education today on something I've thought about for quite some time now but was afraid to just come out and ask. too shy you know. :rolleyes: LOL

I also might add to you jstrike that I think VWM was very polite in his answer to what appeared to me to be a rather harsh attack on someone's country. I might not have been so polite but that's just me. :)
 

vinylweatherman

You type well loads
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Location
United Kingdom
And from an American viewpoint, I'd say we are all living/serving under the same dictator.:(
I've often wondered why, in this forum anyway, it is only the Americans that rant and rave about their loss of personal freedoms and had also come to the conclusion that either socialism was really working well in other countries or, and this is my first choice really, that if you never had something to begin with, how could you miss it thereby causing a lack of complaining by the people. There is of course a 3rd theory that came to my mind and that was fear of reprisal for complaining but we don't even want to go there.
So it is really interesting and I thank you both for a little extra education today on something I've thought about for quite some time now but was afraid to just come out and ask. too shy you know. :rolleyes: LOL

I also might add to you jstrike that I think VWM was very polite in his answer to what appeared to me to be a rather harsh attack on someone's country. I might not have been so polite but that's just me. :)


It was more an attack on those in charge, rather than "the people". Recent scandals have shown that it matters little who you vote for, the red ones, the yellow ones, or the blue ones, you seem to get the same old BS all the time.

At least in the US you only have TWO voting options in order to get the same old BS.
 

jod5413

Is That Better?
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Location
somewhere on the planet
Good thread and good posters. Thanks.

I wish Casinomeister would give awards to members here that stand out (in a good way).

Vinylweatherman is simply the most polite, calm and rational person I have met in ages. He is knowledgeable and has an ego that is self assured but not condescending. He likes helping people and always uses language that is coherent and easy to understand.

Thanks, VWM. :thumbsup:
 
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felicie

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Location
somewhere else
Good thread and good posters. Thanks.

I wish Casinomeister would give awards to members here that stand out (in a good way).

Vinylweatherman is simply the most polite, calm and rational person I have met in ages. He is knowledgeable and has an ego that is self assured but not condescending. He likes helping people and always uses language that is coherent and easy to understand.

Thanks, VWM. :thumbsup:

I meant that thanks as in agreement not as if I was complimented. LOL
 

vinylweatherman

You type well loads
Joined
Oct 14, 2004
Location
United Kingdom
Good thread and good posters. Thanks.

I wish Casinomeister would give awards to members here that stand out (in a good way).

Vinylweatherman is simply the most polite, calm and rational person I have met in ages. He is knowledgeable and has an ego that is self assured but not condescending. He likes helping people and always uses language that is coherent and easy to understand.

Thanks, VWM. :thumbsup:

I think another member comes out with a "members award" thread, completely unofficial, not endorsed by CM, no bribes paid, etc:D

Hey! when did we MEET - was I asleep in my bath chair:confused:

Don't know about the language though, I am often reprimanded for "speaking in tongues" when trying to explain something to my Mum, or my Niece (well, she IS blonde:p). Even my BOSS (when I worked) said I used too much "technical jargon".
 

jstrike

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Location
Europe
I do want to chime in and say that VWM is a class act.

I know I was being pretty harsh, and maybe got careless with what I said. I'm an American expatriate, by choice. I left under Bush because I didn't like the way the country was going. I don't think it's gotten any better, and unlike most of my countrymen, I can't look the other way just because "my side" is in office. No one who holds power is anyone's friend...and I came to the conclusion a long time ago that the only differences between a street gang running numbers and protection, and a government running a lottery, taxes and prisons, are how big they are, how much money they make, and how far they can go if they want to hurt you.

So that's just me. I'm more of a libertine than a liberal or a libertarian, I stay away from politics and I only want to live free. It's not that I have a special grudge against England...and if anything, what caused me to put down so much venom here is that it's England -- the country that gave the world the Magna Carta, the Common Law, that single-handedly saved Europe... practically the only country in Europe that didn't fall to Fascism or Communism in the 20th century. I meet Brits traveling around who work for Al Jazeera and talk about how it wouldn't have mattered if the Nazis had won the war. To me, that's more upsetting than anything. I expect to see repression in Dubai, or China, or Russia... there's not really much point in even saying anything about it when you see it there. But there's something worse when you see it done in a free country, in the name of children, and when one system for taking away people's rights is put together with another system that takes away their personal responsibility and creates a culture of victimhood. And definitely, the same thing has happened in the States.

Now, none of this has to do with the actual law this thread was started about and I'm sorry for taking it so off topic. I wanted to justify why I was throwing out all those harsh things, and I wanted to clear up that I don't have it out for Britain, I just hope things turn around in the Western countries before we all slide into a totalitarian nightmare and it's too late. And I wanted to thank VWM for his gracefulness in looking past my hot-headedness. So, thank you.
 

felicie

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somewhere else
I do want to chime in and say that VWM is a class act.

I know I was being pretty harsh, and maybe got careless with what I said. I'm an American expatriate, by choice. I left under Bush because I didn't like the way the country was going. I don't think it's gotten any better, and unlike most of my countrymen, I can't look the other way just because "my side" is in office. No one who holds power is anyone's friend...and I came to the conclusion a long time ago that the only differences between a street gang running numbers and protection, and a government running a lottery, taxes and prisons, are how big they are, how much money they make, and how far they can go if they want to hurt you.

So that's just me. I'm more of a libertine than a liberal or a libertarian, I stay away from politics and I only want to live free. It's not that I have a special grudge against England...and if anything, what caused me to put down so much venom here is that it's England -- the country that gave the world the Magna Carta, the Common Law, that single-handedly saved Europe... practically the only country in Europe that didn't fall to Fascism or Communism in the 20th century. I meet Brits traveling around who work for Al Jazeera and talk about how it wouldn't have mattered if the Nazis had won the war. To me, that's more upsetting than anything. I expect to see repression in Dubai, or China, or Russia... there's not really much point in even saying anything about it when you see it there. But there's something worse when you see it done in a free country, in the name of children, and when one system for taking away people's rights is put together with another system that takes away their personal responsibility and creates a culture of victimhood. And definitely, the same thing has happened in the States.

Now, none of this has to do with the actual law this thread was started about and I'm sorry for taking it so off topic. I wanted to justify why I was throwing out all those harsh things, and I wanted to clear up that I don't have it out for Britain, I just hope things turn around in the Western countries before we all slide into a totalitarian nightmare and it's too late. And I wanted to thank VWM for his gracefulness in looking past my hot-headedness. So, thank you.

You're cool jstrike; I'm the one that stuck my nose in where it really wasn't needed so I apologize to you. peace. :)

p.s. I understand your strong feelings of dismay, distrust and anger but I wish you would not give up on her (America of course) because it takes people like you to change things. What if our founding fathers had all said the hell with it and moved to France? Or all the men and woman who've given their lives for the same principles you believe in. Ok I will shut up. For now. :)
 

jetset

RIP Brian
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Earth
One of the problems I have with this sort of article (and the Daily Mail is pretty much anti-gambling generally from the articles I have read there over the years) is its lack of precision.

Granted, this was written by the political editor who probably does not have a wide knowledge of the gambling business, but nevertheless to throw around statements like "mounting concern that millions are becoming addicted to gambling" is lacking in detail. Which experts from where? to start with.

If you go back and read the government statement, it expresses concern at the "explosion in internet gambling advertising". I would suggest that that concern is more to do with complaints from Brit operators about offshore operators in kinder tax havens having a competitive advantage yet still accessing the UK market.

Remember Will Hill and Ladbrokes taking their internet divisions offshore? This is more about 'white list advertising' politics than problem gambling imo.

Then there is the perennial lack of definition in what anti-gambling pundits class as 'addicted gambler', which can range from persons showing possible indications of a gambling problem right the way through to raving addicts who steal to fund their addiction...too often these categories are lumped together and that does not give an accurate and reliable picture, although it may serve the purpose of making the issue appear far worse than it really is.

The same imprecision is repeated by expert after (anti-gambling) expert, and worst still uninformed politicians, when what is needed is a clearer and fairer picture, rather than emotive slogans like 'click the mouse and lose your house'. Or the other classic 'a casino in every child's bedroom.'

There is obviously no denying that problem gamblers exist, or that it is essential that they be blocked and advised on treatment, but let's rather see properly conducted surveys with reliable numbers of clearly defined classes - the UK Gambling Commission's regular 'prevalence' surveys are a better option than some journo making sweeping claims like this.
 

P.V.

Senior Member
webmeister
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Turn around...
The industry have done themselves no favours either, by having terms and conditions that would be ILLEGAL under UK consumer protection laws, but that leave UK players with little redress because of the offshore location of their company.

I'll also add the UK Data Protection Act of 1998 which most O.C.'s don't abide by.
 

GrandMaster

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UK
Operators that have "Neteller hatred" in their terms need to consider the impact a credit card ban would have, since this could mean eWallets become the ONLY way UK players can easily make deposits. Other than cards and eWallets, other deposit methods are much more involved, and require a wait between making the deposit, and the funds being available for play.
There are also debit cards, which are better for casinos since they are
cheaper to process and don't give the player the same consumer rights as credit cards.

Kids can get "electron" cards when younger than 18, and these CAN be used at casinos. If casinos assume a card account means a player has to be 18, they are wrong - this ONLY applies to CREDIT cards.

By far, the most draconian controls are applied to smoking, and some of the laws stray WELL outside the stated aims of protecting other non-smokers from "second hand" smoke. It is even illegal for someone to consent to work in an environment where they may be exposed to second hand smoke, even if they are smokers themselves. Another law also makes it illegal to provide a specific area for smokers to indulge themselves away from those who want to avoid the second hand smoke, even though ONLY smokers will be in such a place. Effectively, smokers are being protected from each others second hand smoke by the law. Some businesses are faced with going bust because most of their customers were smokers, yet are REQUIRED to go bust, rather than be allowed to weigh up the risks and benefits themselves of working in a smoke filled environment to keep their business going and keeping their smoking customers.
I think casino operator are aware of the fact that debit cards are proof of age. As for smoking, you should not trivialise the issue. A German study I read measured the air quality in smoking pubs in Germany and concluded that workers in a factory would not be allowed to breathe that sort of contaminated air but would be required to wear mask and breathing apparatus.
 

Nifty29

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Turn right, then right. then right again
A German study I read measured the air quality in smoking pubs in Germany and concluded that workers in a factory would not be allowed to breathe that sort of contaminated air but would be required to wear mask and breathing apparatus.

Wow. Amazing! I've been off the tar for 8 years now and it's the best thing I ever did :thumbsup:

Well it won't affect me anyway as I won't go to Germany - too many foreigners. ;)
 

vinylweatherman

You type well loads
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Location
United Kingdom
There are also debit cards, which are better for casinos since they are
cheaper to process and don't give the player the same consumer rights as credit cards.


I think casino operator are aware of the fact that debit cards are proof of age. As for smoking, you should not trivialise the issue. A German study I read measured the air quality in smoking pubs in Germany and concluded that workers in a factory would not be allowed to breathe that sort of contaminated air but would be required to wear mask and breathing apparatus.

The smoking argument is about individuals who do NOT have employees cannot CHOOSE to host other smokers. Pubs have ALWAYS been places to go "for a smoke & a pint", and many pubs HAVE gone bust because so many of their customers used the pub this way, and they have not attracted enough non smoking customers to make the business work. It is even illegal to build a separate smoking shelter away from the main pub, where ONLY the smokers will have to suffer their own dirty air. The law even forbids you from smoking in your OWN car if you are driving to a work engagement, yet you can light up as soon as your working day is over. It is seen as rules "for the sake of it" that achieve nothing.
The rules were INTENDED to protect non-smokers from breathing air polluted by smokers, and this is where it should have remained. By extending the rules to a vendetta against smokers as a whole was NEVER the advertised function of these laws, but it is something the govermnent "slipped under the radar" because they couldn't get away with an overt ban on tobacco - too many powerful interests who's toes would get stepped on.

The Cards available to under 18's CAN be used as debit cards in some cases, so it is not a guaranteed verification of age, as is a credit card.

Pre-paid cards are a bigger problem, as these can be loaded by a parent (or the child), and used as CREDIT cards since they run on the same payment networks. A pre-paid card would be one way an underage gambler could bypass basic checks, although they would be stuffed when they tried to withdraw.
 
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