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Action Replay: 888online - Gambling’s Bête Noire

Recently the online gambling company 888 was fined £7.8 million by the Gambling Commission after it was discovered that thousands of its customers who had voluntarily banned themselves from gambling online were still able to make wagers due to a technical glitch in the system. The company reported the problem to the commission in February this year which prompted a review of its license.

Roughly £3.5m has been wagered over a year by ‘self-excluded’ customers. One gambler bet £1 million, £55k of it stolen from their employer. Sarah Harrison, CEO of the Gambling Commission said ‘safeguarding customers is not optional. The penalty package of just under £8m reflects the seriousness of 888's failings’ (i newspaper 1/9/2017).

Action Replay: Sky and the Market for Sports Coverage

IN JULY Sky re-aligned its sports channels, dropping the numbered services in favour of separate channels devoted to their core sports ‘properties’, including cricket, Formula One, golf, and two football channels (with one specifically dedicated to the Premier League), and three channels dedicated to general sports coverage.

The change reflects Sky’s concern at the threat to its dominant position in the UK broadcasting market from viewers watching of sport via the internet both legally and illegally. Roughly 10 percent of live sports viewers use illegal streams.

With each passing year viewers become more adept at circumventing legal ways of watching live sport. This is why the Premier League has stepped up attempts to combat pirate viewing streams which deprive Sky of viewers and revenue.

Action Replay: Comic Belief

Comic Relief is a British charity, founded in 1985 by the comedy scriptwriter Richard Curtis and comedian Lenny Henry in response to famine in Ethiopia. The highlight of Comic Relief's appeal is Red Nose Day, a biannual telethon held in March, alternating with sister project Sport Relief. The idea for Comic Relief came from the charity worker Jane Tewson, who established it as the operating name of Charity Projects, a registered charity based in England and Scotland.

Lenny Henry travelled to Ethiopia to celebrate the first Red Nose Day on the 8 February 1988. The event raised £15 million and attracted 30 million television viewers on BBC1. Richard Curtis and Lenny Henry are still active participants of the Red Nose Day Telethon which continues to raise funds for numerous charities that help children in need and tackle worldwide poverty.

Action Replay: Heading for Trouble

Last year the Daily Telegraph (30 May) published an article on the link between football and dementia accusing the powers that run football of behaving like the notorious tobacco industry of the 1960s. It warned about its 'scandalous' failure to carry out research into the alleged link, in the world’s most popular sport, between heading the ball and dementia.

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