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Next up: I will be featuring in the short films Dark & Stormy and Belfast Caliber 9.

4 Apr 2014

Why, as an actor, I will never put my name or face to a gambling company.

As an actor, sometimes you have to take a gig that doesn't quite reach the glamour of the Oscar nominated performance you have been dreaming about, but it pays and it means you can have a drink at the end of the month without worrying where the heating money comes from.
It's usually a corporate gig, or maybe a advertising stint for a junk food company, or worse, musical theatre!

Every so often though there are some jobs that are just too stomach-churning to be anathema to the very fibre of your being, and it is accepting these jobs that would be my only definition of 'selling out' - not just your professional credibility, but your very soul. And this is why I instructed my agent not to put me forward for gambling ads, or cash-for-gold etc companies.

I remember in my lifetime, gambling outlets looked seedier than porn shops. Now it's so mainstream, it's actually difficult to look down a street without seeing a betting shop.

I don't know why Tony Blair was so adorned by this industry, but his contribution to this deathly social ill is certainly up there among his more shameful legacies.
Watch this video about Fixed Odds Betting Terminals - a system that from the front seems so open to abuse (a computer server miles away determines where the roulette ball lands - surely the logarithms can be manipulated to land on lower payouts each time), the industry's reluctance to even comment on them, and stifle any official comment on them is eye opening.

I've nothing against betting per se - it's only a few days ago I asked for advice on how to do it for the World Cup - but this rampant targeting of problem gamblers, along with Cash-for-Gold shops etc are more examples of the exploitation of the poor and working classes that needs to be curtailed.

This also extends into my personal life. I am a life long Aston Villa supporter (someone has to) - and it was with immense pride for me as a supporter that about five years ago they donated two seasons worth of shirt sponsorship (valued at upwards of £2 million per year, I believe) to a local childrens hospice, Acorns, and continues to have a fruitful relationship with the charity. This season I cannot bring myself to buy their gorgeous away jersey and be a walking advertisement for an internet gambling company. Which is a great shame, because it really is a lovely jersey.