There were always a few people in my life, never my Father, but some of his friends who had a flutter on the horses. The Grand National was different; we had a family draw and avidly watched on TV with the ever-excited crescendo tones of the BBC race commentators as the race entered the second lap.
Now in the UK, we have a National Lottery, which was once every week and has morphed into goodness knows how many a week now - but I confess to buying the odd ticket here and there, making myself feel less guilty and greedy with the thought of "some of it will go to charity".
But what I don't understand is how any TV advertising for gambling is allowed, purely in order to make a very few rich and to put financially hard-up people into even more dire straits.
It seems criminal and utterly negligent of successive governments not to have tackled this and to have allowed this scourge on society to proliferate.
Rishi Sunak has just declared laughing gas will be made illegal because it is a blight on society - and if that is supposed to be the responsible thing to do, why in God's name do we still not just allow - but actively encourage people to gamble? And the sad truth is that gambling will always have the most damaging effect on the poorest and worse off people - the people who are desperate. The game is always stacked - the gambler will never win in the long run. The gambling addiction brings devastation to so many lives. And if there is an argument for allowing gambling, and I can't think of one - it certainly should not be advised and thus encouraged.
This is not about denying law-abiding citizens their freedoms - this is the mark of an irresponsible government that allows gambling to be advertised and, thus, actively encouraged.
Rikki - Suffolk - UK - 29th March - 2023