Students Centre to be home to Bookies

Originally published in Volume III, Issue 12 on 27th May 1997 by Joanna Power. Joanne Power on the latest twist in the tale of the Student Centre plans. Students may soon be able to put a ‘monkey’ on a horse, if current plans for the Student Centre are put into action as expected. The Centre, which is currently in an advanced stage of development, is now to include a bookmakers, as well as the eating areas and bar already planned. The decision has prompted anger from anti-gambling groups and the Irish Concerned Parents Association. However, the Students’ Union and the college authorities have defended the move, claiming that it is something that will “enhance student social activities on campus”. The tender is to be advertised over the coming months in order to ensure that the bookmakers will be run efficiently and with an eye towards profit. It has been agreed that it should be as ‘upmarket’ as possible in order to avoid accusations of ‘sleaze’ when dealing with the student social fabric. “We feel that this is a viable, legitimate business proposition which will do much to enhance the student social scene”, according to SU President, Mr. Shane Fitzgerald. “Everybody likes a flutter on the horses, and students are no exceptions, although there will also be opportunities to bet on other sports. It will also do much to enhance student-academic relations, as many lecturers are in favour of the idea.”Some of the proposed twists to the normal betting shop, include the possibility of punters being able to put bets on such things as exam results and Superleague matches. This has, however, raised the intriguing question of whether students will be able to be on themselves passing or failing their exams. There are also worries that lecturers may be able to place bets on the results of their students, with possible exam fixing being touted as one of the potential hazards. With some bookmakers, such as Paddy Power’s, claiming to take money on any bet, these possibilities may not be as ludicrous as they first seem. “This will not happen,” says Fitzgerald, “unless there is a considerable demand.” It is believed that a successful bookmakers could return a profit of up to £250,000 per annum, out-stripping those made by other student run facilities, such as the Bar and SU Shop. However, the move has been called “disgraceful” and “unethical” by the Concerned Parents Association. A spokeswoman for the group yesterday said, “this could lead to the destruction of so many lives. It is bad enough that the taking of drugs, drinking heavily and sex are advocated, but this really does go too far.” This view, though, was denounced by one college source who said, “just because some people don’t know how to have a good time, doesn’t mean that others others should be prevented from enjoying themselves as well.” *This article was a satirical piece published in the final issue of Volume III.