Time to address gambling problem

While freely admitting to liking to have a regular punt on all manner of things, including three-legged horses, lame duck football teams who used to include Aberdeen FC, I like to think my betting habits are well under control, even if I am some way short of being a millionaire.

I also like to think I am in good company who in the main are sensible about the money we can afford to lose, for in the end of the day containing the habit is what it is all about.

On the other hand, it is patently obvious that excessive gambling is a major issue, seriously out of control, at least if you are to believe our Prime Minister of the day.

In a quite astonishing comment, David Cameron described fruit machines on the high street as the new “cocaine” of the 21st century. Wow, some assessment of the situation.

And yet despite my belief that our PM view is wide of the mark, I am forced to face up to the fact that it is an issue meriting a more focused attention.

The fact that one of the leading high street bookmakers is actually advertising the fact there is a problem tells a frightening story of its own.

If the very people who are best placed to make a fortune from the misfortunes of the public are concerned, you can bet your bottom dollar that the same folk are well informed about what is going on in the industry are only trying to protect their backs. For why else would they be promoting a training programme among their own staff?

From what I can see from the relatively protected rural regions of East Gordon there is no real problem, at least on the surface, though I am aware that in Aberdeen the same gaming machines are emptied on a regular basis by staff now fully trained to cope with the excesses of the gambling public.

A sad, but a realistic fact of life. Perhaps David Cameron is more on the ball than many of us had thought!

Finally, I find it very hard to accept and believe that a certain high profile soccer player is set to earn £15.5 million a year just for kicking a football.

Wayne Rooney’s agent must be laughing all the way to bank. More fool his club for agreeing to such an agreement.

Interestingly, the entire wage bill for a year for the 303 staff of the Scottish Rugby Union is marginally higher than the Rooney settlement.

A sad state of affairs, especially when you think this is a relatively old player who has failed to score a goal in the two World Cups in which he has participated. Do we have no sense of reality? Obviously not!