The Red Eds' Political Opportunism and Rank Hypocrisy.

The news that Red Ed Miliband and Redder Ed Balls are to clamp down on gambling machines in betting shops if they win the next election stinks of blatant political opportunism and rank hypocrisy.

This is the party under which we all saw an explosion in gambling both on the internet and in shops under the last government.

If people want to gamble they will gamble because unless they are under age there is very little anyone can do about it.

However, coming from a party that only in 2009 received a £100,000 'thank you' from the betting tycoon Peter Coates via his business Hillside (New Media) which owns both Bet 365 and Stoke City Football Club and £150,000 from Bet365 just weeks before Gordon Brown scrapped plans for a Las Vegas-style super-casino in Manchester this is pretty desperate stuff.

It was Labour who took the controversial decision to relax the betting laws in the first place via the Gambling Bill which gave online casinos and bookmakers free rein to promote themselves on TV thus ignoring experts who said the advertising explosion that Labour allowed would lead to a surge in gambling addiction and suck vulnerable children into the world of online betting.

Given the highly addictive nature of betting which I know all too well about given that I was a snooker and darts odds compiler for bookies Stan James between 1992 and 1997 if any action should be taken I believe that bookmakers should be forced by law to pass on part of their profits to fund research and treatment for problem gamblers instead.