YP Letters: Criticism of gambling industry is unfair

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From: Gillian Wilmot, Chairman, Senet Group.

DAVID Richards makes a false comparison between gambling and tobacco (The Yorkshire Post, November 29). There is no such thing as a safe cigarette, yet millions of people in this country enjoy a bet every year and do so without any harm, just as most enjoy a pint of beer or a glass of wine.

He is correct to say that rates of problem gambling remain too high, but it’s important to put this in perspective. In its most recent survey, the gambling industry regulator estimated that some 56 per cent of people gamble in England, with problem gamblers accounting for 0.7 per cent, a rate more or less unchanged since 2005. Disapproval is not a reason to demonise a legitimate industry.

As the CEO of a data infrastructure company, David Richards expresses concern at the cynical use of data by gambling companies. In fact, data is being put to use to protect players by the major operating companies and the Senet Group itself is leading a cross-sector initiative.

Where we agree is on the need to reduce the volume and density of gambling advertising around live sport. In this, I am pleased to say that the industry is currently working on a series of proposals which would see a significant restriction in advertising around live sport, and football in particular.

The Senet Group’s messaging and advertising campaign, ‘When the Fun Stops, Stop’, recognises that for the vast majority of people, gambling is a harmless recreational activity.

For the minority of players for whom that’s not the case, the gambling sector can do more to improve safety and fairness.

Climate of confusion

From: Father Neil McNicholas, Yarm.

AS usual, Sir Bernard Ingham talked a great deal of common sense in his column in these pages some weeks ago regarding all the nonsense and, in some cases, plain scaremongering, that is talked about on the subject of climate change – and we have heard yet more of it from the gathering in Poland including, sadly, from such an eminent figure as Sir David Attenborough.

For a long time the issue involved two distinct factors: climate change and global warming, but for political expediency these two have now been very conveniently combined and everyone now talks only about climate change.

They are not the same thing. The climate has always been changing and always will and there is nothing we can do about it despite our arrogance in thinking we can. On the other hand global warming may well be something we are responsible for and can influence for the better.

Meanwhile, would politicians, the media, and public figures and environmentalists like Sir David please, please, get their terminology correct?

Universities out for money

From: Hilary Andrews, Nursery Lane, Leeds.

IT comes as no surprise that a third of offers of university places are now unconditional on the A Level results of the applicant (The Yorkshire Post, November 29).

Since the introduction of fees, attendance at university has become a commercial enterprise and the universities want to make as much money as they can.

These unconditional offers seem to be only given to students wishing to study subjects where a degree confers little economic benefit, so taxpayers are landed with the fees as the students never earn enough to start paying their loans back.

Points 
of order

From: Nicholas McElroy, Northallerton.

WHO ultimately pays for the £2m worth of funding that is to be given to the company ENGIE to provide “rapid charging points” for electric vehicles?

What is the carbon footprint of these “points” as they rely on electricity produced by fossil fuels?

Why should those who are rich enough to be able to afford a battery-driven car be able to get this electricity for free?

I can’t believe that this will make any measurable difference to air quality.

Benefits in an online world

From: Mark Burnwood, Carlisle Street, Sheffield.

THE rollout of Universal Credit in Sheffield has begun. The controversial benefit requires a significant amount of work to be done online, with claimants having to fill in applications and job search diaries.

This is the same for anyone applying for student finance via Student Finance England, and also many job applications are now online also. Sheffield Council should be helping by making computers available for job searches and having job searches and benefit applications exempt from the two-hour limit on PC use at Sheffield libraries.

Cartographer back on map

From: Andy Chaffer, Director, The Yorkshire Society Limited.

I READ with interest the article about the forthcoming auction of maps, and the atlas produced in 1611 by John Speed (The Yorkshire Post, December 1).

John Vincent fails to mention the efforts of Yorkshire’s very own Christopher Saxton who, I would argue, is the more famous English cartographer. Copies of Saxton’s maps can be seen at Leeds Central Library.

Saxton surveyed England in 1574 and Wales in 1577 – and then published his Atlas of the Counties of England and Wales in 1579 some 32 years before John Speed. The Yorkshire Society erected a plaque in Christopher Saxton’s honour in Tingley.