Belfast Telegraph

Gambling Derry chef charged with criminal damage worth £264 in Ladbroke's betting office

The District Judge at the Magistrate's Court in Derry has warned people against the dangers of online gambling.

Barney McElholm made the comment during the sentencing of a 29-years-old local chef whom, he was told, once gambled and lost £750 in a 20 minute betting spree while playing an internet linked poker machine in the Ladbroke's betting office in Patrick Street in the city.

The defendant, Aaron Wiggan from Bond Street, admitted causing criminal damage worth £264 to the machine on November 12 of last year after he'd gambled and lost £450.

Defence solicitor Maeolisa Barr said on this particular machine there was a button which enabled gamblers to bet £100 at a time.

"This man has been gambling heavily for about eight years now during which time he's lost thousands of pounds playing the same machine thereby contributing to the company's profits", he said.

The District Judge said Wiggan should have thought about looking after his partner and their children rather than squandering his money on internet linked gaming machines.

"Where there is a gaming machine, and I know nothing about these things, but where you can bet £100 at a time, I find it difficult to believe that is what the legislature intended.

"Having said that one can simply go on the internet and do the same thing.

"Yet again this is another example of the abuse of the internet. When are people going to wake up to the inescapable fact that if you are betting against a computer, the people controlling the computer don't set the system up to lose money", he said.

Mr McElholm imposed a conditional discharge for two years and said in the circumstances he was not making an order in relation to the £264 of damage Wiggan caused to the poker machine

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