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Pleading puggy poverty is a bit rich by bookies; IN ASSOCIATION WITH RACING SPOTLIGHT Big three's threat of redundancies a pathetic ploy.

Byline: Garry Owen

IF I hear one more CEO of the "big three" mumping about how hard done by they are with new legislation on FOBTs (puggies to you and I) I swear I'll swing for them.

Hot on the hooves of 20-1 Cheltenham Gold Cup Winner Lord Windermere and 25-1 Grand National winner Pineau De Re, you'd think the fat cats could at least have the decency to light up their Romeo & Juliets with PS50 notes, keep their peace and maintain some form of quiet dignity. But no!

Not content to take the troosers off punters (and skirts off ladies) over the counter, those avaricious sheep in cashmere clothing want to suck every last farthing off us with gaming machines on their premises.

I'm not a player myself, and I thank the gambling gods that it's probably the last vestige of discipline I hang on to whenever I cross the threshold of Mr Ladbroke, Hill, Coral or Power.

The threat of closing shops and laying off workers is pathetic in the extreme. Forget the multi-millions raked in at Cheltenham and Aintree in the last month or so, what about the punts that have gone belly up on football bets in the last week.

At the time of writing Manchester City appear to have it under control in the Premier League but Chelsea and Liverpool have sunk more coupons recently than the Kriegsmarine did to Allied shipping in the big show.

Meanwhile, our amigos in Spain seem to be doing their level best not to win La Liga with Barca and the Madrid boys' bottles collapsing like the Polar icecap. I'd seriously like to know how much profit the bookies clawed in last week in Spanish bets alone.

I do genuinely feel sorry for poor souls feeding nuggets into puggies like throwing jubejubes to an elephant as my auld granny would say.

But I'm not advising a three-week stay in the Priory for any punter who likes a wee dabble on the machines. In all honesty though, with the chance to bet on everything from the Kentucky Derby to X Factor, do we really need FOBTs in betting parlours? Fixed odds betting terminals (puggies) should be hauled from every bookies in Scotland and hurled on a bonfire fuelled with my antepost betting vouchers.

I cannot swallow the threat of redundancies to their staff from the Big Three, trust me there's plenty of readies swilling around in their troughs. To contradict Baroness Margaret Hilda, greed is not good.

Maybe we should take the lead from our chums across the narrow sea and do away with bookies altogether. A state-run tote monopoly with all profits being fed back in to sport could be the way forward. Of course I'm havering, there's more chance of England winning the World Cup!

Hold on, what price the Three Lions? ? A mate told me Hamilton are considering adding a chute to their already excellent facilities to create a seven furlong course. Trainers have been canvassed to gauge their support for such a venture and I believe it has been met with positive vibes.

It can only be good for Scottish racing and I sincerely hope it gets the thumbs up.

There's plenty of readies swilling around in their troughs


THEY'RE HOOV-ING A LAUGH Lord Windemere's Gold Cup win at 20-1 saw the bookies take even more hard-earned off the punters

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 8, 2014
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