Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Selling off the Tote marks a race to the bottom for the sake of ideology

This piece of mine appears in today's Guardian.

Neil Clark: Britain's publicly-owned bookmaker keeps horseracing diverse. Without it, smaller courses would struggle to survive.

Sir Winston Churchill will be turning in his grave. For 83 years, the Tote, Britain's publicly-owned bookmaker, set up by Churchill when he was chancellor of the exchequer in Stanley Baldwin's Conservative government in 1928, has been an integral part of the British horseracing scene. Now, however, the institution endearingly known as "the Nanny Goat" is to go the way of our railways, our buses and our utilities and be transferred to the private sector.

While free-market enthusiasts will no doubt be pleased to see a further shrinking of the state, the sale is likely to prove disastrous for a sport which employs more than 100,000 directly and indirectly, and which brings joy to millions of people's lives.

You can read the whole of the article here.

1 comment:

Douglas said...

There isn't a US equivalent of the Tote, yet. The Power Ball lottery is the closest America comes to nationwide government sponsored gambling.

The legislators in my state of Minnesota are contemplating a "racino," government sponsored gambling at the Canterbury Downs racetrack, to help balance a $5 billion budget deficit on a budget of $30-something billion. Minnesota is constitutionally required to balance its budget. Minnesota already has a state-sponsored lottery.

I suggested that Minnesota expand the promotion of vice for income by creating state-sponsored marijuana and heroin dealers, and state-sponsored prostitutes and human traffickers. I mean, we've already agreed to it in principle, now we're merely haggling to the extent.