A publican in Guernsey is advocating for the removal of scratch cards from the Christmas lottery, citing concerns about the impact of gambling. Michael Druce, a pub landlord, took the proactive step of discontinuing scratch card sales at his establishment four years ago after witnessing the detrimental effects on his patrons.

Druce recounted instances where customers spent their entire wages on scratch cards, underscoring the concerning pattern associated with the Channel Islands Lottery, managed by the States. His observations echo a broader societal concern highlighted in a recent report indicating a higher prevalence of gambling in Guernsey compared to the rest of Britain.

Operating a pub in the Vale, Druce expressed dismay at witnessing the toll of gambling addiction on his clientele. He recounted heartbreaking encounters with parents who implored him to cease selling scratch cards to their son, who struggled with addiction to the extent of pilfering money from them.

Druce emphasized the urgency of addressing the issue, suggesting that the involvement of the States perpetuates the problem rather than curbing it. The Channel Islands Lottery, overseen by the States Trading Supervisory Board (STSB), allocates proceeds back into the local community.

In response to Druce’s concerns, Deputy Peter Roffey, President of STSB, acknowledged discomfort with the prevalence of scratch cards. He acknowledged the delicate balance between revenue generation and the risk of fostering gambling addiction. Roffey suggested exploring alternatives to scratch cards within the lottery framework, indicating a willingness to address the issue comprehensively.

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