Time to Talk: Gambling.

February 14, 2008

To-day we have the breaking story of one Graham Calvert, 28 years old and a gambler who lost. And he lost big time. The beeb tells the story well but it’s on all the airways downhole1.gifso you’ll hardly have missed it! Check here to start with:- How a gambling addict lost £2.1m

Interesting…isn’t it? This successful young guy is obviously pretty talented when it comes to his career but can’t say no to a bet. In his case he bet in thousands not pounds and even bet £347,000 on America to win the 2006 Ryder Cup. Now setting aside, for the moment, the thought that anyone who bets the gormless Yanks to win a team golf game gets everything he deserves when he loses….. don’t you feel just a little sorry for the guy?

Time was you had to go into a bookies to place a bet or take the trouble to join a casino or travel to a race track but now…. just lifting the phone or logging on to a website gives you instant access 365/24/7 to thousands of ways to lose your savings!

The evidence is that Graham figured he had a problem. Of course, like all gamblers, he only figured he had a problem on the days he lost! On the days he won he probably thought he’d found a really easy way to turn a profit and make quick money.

So what’s to be made of Graham’s suing of the bookmakers for £2.1 Million? The grounds of the case are that he “self-excluded” from gambling and closed his account with William Hill. The BBC have a transcript of the call when he closed his account.

This is what was said:-

J: “Hi Mr Calvert , you’re through to John, team leader here. I understand you want to close the account?”

GC: “Yes please, yeah.”

J : “Can you tell me why that is please?”

GC: “‘Cos it’s just far too easy to gamble.”

J: “Right, so do you want to be self-excluded at this point then? Which means you will not be able to open the account with us again within the next six months?”

GC: “That’s right, aye.”

J: “Right, well, what I’ll do is I’ll pass on all the relevant information.”

GC: “Right.”

J: “The account will now be closed, you will not be able to open it within the next six months.”

After a discussion about returning the remaining funds in the account to Mr Calvert, he’s told by J: “But the money will be returned to your account and the account will now be closed for the next six months.

“You will not be allowed to open it under any circumstances. You will not be allowed to bet over the phone with William Hill.”

Don’t you just love the way everything said on the phone is recorded now?

So… that should be ok then.. yes? Except, of course, as a gambler he could not resist the lure of another bet and opened another account with Hill’s, in his own name, and placed that famous Ryder Cup bet. Now he is taking the company to court and claiming that they broke their rules by allowing him to open another account within his “self- exclusion” period.

I wonder if he had won and Hill’s had refused to pay out would this guy be suing them for NOT paying out!? Just a thought…..

And so we have a fascinating court case to exercise our minds! Who’s responsible for a gambler’s actions? The gambler or the bookie? At what point does a bookie have to say to someone… “Enough .. no more… stop throwing your money away!”

So… what do you think? Has he got a case? Did he just throw his money down a bottomless hole or does the bookie really have to exercise a duty of care to the punter?

If Graham wins this case can bookies continue to operate at all?




Smuggling, Death and Taxes

January 24, 2008

Benjamin Franklyn said, “In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.” And I’d have to agree but I’d add something…… smuggling! As soon as something is taxed highly in one place and yet is freely available in another there will always emerge a criminal class to exploit the situation. cigs.gifFrom Africa they smuggle highly vulnerable people to Europe, from France they smuggle exploitable workers to the United Kingdom, guns and rockets and bullets are smuggled through tunnels into occupied Palastine… all over the world the talented smuggler is in high demand.

And then ….we have the Northern Irish version of the smuggler!

He smuggles ciggies… as this story from the Derry Journal reports:- Derry man jailed for smuggling cigs. The full story demands a five minute read but here’s a flavour to get you going! Read the rest of this entry »

Unwanted Phone Calls!

January 12, 2008

Catch42 explores another facet of modern living! Read on…att22.gif - I've searched in vain for the owner of this fabulous wee graphic sent to me in an email! If it's you and you object to my using it please let me know and I'll remove it!

Last night I went to bed at about 3 am and its true what they say “Nothing good ever happens after 2 am” but enough of that. At 8.15 the phone rang! Nobody there, number withheld. I can’t get back to sleep when I wake up so I get up and decide to have some breakfast. The bacon is coming on nicely and the phone rings again.

A voice says,

“Do you know that the average person in the UK can claim back £1900 in Bank Charges?”

Infuriated I press option 2 to speak to an adviser, I hang on for 10 minutes to be connected ….but nothing happens. This is not on, I suffer enough from TV advertising (more about that some other time).

So a quick search Read the rest of this entry »

Have the Dragons gone mad?

December 20, 2007

Catch42 takes a look into the madness that is the Dragons’ Den:

I have been involved in contracting over the years and when I saw the Dragons Den invest in what looked like a simple electrical junction box I was astonished! I am fairly sure products like this have been around for years and this one looks no different. I was even more astonished when a £25 million deal was announced to distribute the box and retail it at 99p.

Have a look at this one for 47p and tell me where I am going wrong?


Food waste- who’s fault is it?

November 2, 2007

I just loved reading this piece by Dennis Winterman on the BBC Website. It’s not very often you food2.jpgread sense anywhere these days but this is one of them! His piece – The lost art of leftovers – explores the wastage of our normal cookery lives. According to Dennis our lost skills in using leftover account for:-

“… 6.7 million tonnes of food we throw away each year. A third of all the food we buy is now thrown into the bin and half of it is still perfectly edible, according to the government’s waste reduction agency, Wrap. You’re throwing away one bag of shopping in three, it says.”

Good grief…. every £90-00 I spend in Tesco’s I’m throwing away £30!! It is startling when you think of it that way.

Dennis goes on to argue that:-

  • we’re basically all too lazy to use up leftover food and prefer just to chuck it;
  • we really don’t know how to shop for food – we just throw anything in the trolley and don’t have a plan;
  • domestic science should have been extended to into boys’ education instead of being virtually eradicated from the school timetable;

It’s pretty hard to disagree with all of this. He goes on to say:-

“This wanton wastage is not only costing us money – up to £400 a year – but is hurting the environment: the methane released by decomposing food in landfills is the most potent of greenhouse gases. Cutting it out would be the same as taking one fifth of cars off the road, says Wrap.”

I now feel throughly chastised for my extremely lazy attitude to using up those leftovers and intend to discover what to do with the 2 potatoes, 6 pieces of carrot and three marrowfat peas left after to-night’s night’s dinner.

I’ll let you know if I find a recipe that is edible…. in the meantime if you come up with any ideas don’t be afraid to append them below.

***Check out the WRAP website and their campaign Love Food Hate Waste. ****

At Derry’s Continental Market

October 25, 2007

It’s here and it’s happening right now. So.. get on your boots.. get out your wallet and get yourself down to the Continental Market in the Guildhall Square!


The market runs from Thursday 25th October right through until Sunday 28th October and features traders from all over Europe selling everything things from Wild Boar Burgers to German delicacies I can’t pronounce! Still, the smells of the market would take your heart away with all the open air barbequing going on.

The normally wide open spaces of Guidhall square has been transformed with a riot of coloured stalls nestling against the historic walls in the unaccustomed October sunshine.

Even with a little bit of a cold cut to the morning air it was a very pleasant stroll. It’s a joy to see the place so busy with shoppers and sightseers.

The Guildhall Square Read the rest of this entry »

Coming soon: 1 glass of wine or a small beer and you’re banned.

October 23, 2007

pints.jpgIt’s on the way … so get used to it. You know it makes sense!

It is being widely reported that Northern Ireland and the republic will introduce new drink driving limits that will mean a half of beer or a small glass of wine will put a person over the driving limit.

The BBC puts it this way:-

“In both jurisdictions, it is currently 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

However, Stormont Environment Minister Arlene Foster has told the assembly her department is looking at bringing in a lower limit.

In Dublin, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is expected to announce measures putting drivers who drink a half pint of strong beer or glass of wine at risk of a ban.

The new 50mg/100ml limit would come into effect in the Republic of Ireland early next year.”

This would bring Read the rest of this entry »