Problem, Gambling – It’s Getting Political, if you ask me; it’s about time as something needs to change. ‘About 430,000 people in the UK have a serious gambling habit, up a third in three years, according to a report published by the Gambling Commission in 2015’…wow, what a depressingly astonishing figure!
Yet, as we highlighted in our previous article ‘Blinded by the lights” https://moneyworrieshelpline.com/blinding-by-the-lights/ bookmakers are doing little to signpost and/or support problem gamblers to the help they need.
Pay a levy, I say “here, here”
On the 26th September at their conference in Brighton, the Deputy Prime Minister Tom Watson stated that Labour will consider forcing bookmakers to pay a levy in an effort to reduce the number of problem gamblers in the UK.
The cash from the tax would then be used to fund NHS treatment to combat the “destructive cycle of addiction”.
He went on to say:
“The next Labour government will finally confront problem gambling. Some gambling companies, driven by greed, are deliberately targeting our poorest communities even as hundreds of thousands of lives are ruined by addiction. Children and young people are being targeted more than ever. Gambling companies are even harvesting data to deliberately target low-income gamblers and people who have given up gambling. More than half of companies profit from ‘risk’ gamblers. This has to stop. Gambling companies must be held to account for this abuse of trust and power”.
Currently, gambling companies make voluntary contributions to the charity GambleAware to help pay for education, research, and treating gambling addiction. Labour will consider replacing this with a compulsory system.
Problem gambling charity GambleAware brought in a record £8 million in 2016-17 from voluntary donations from the industry but that was still 20 per cent short of their target.
They have been calling for operators to donate 10p from every £100 of their profit to fund their work.
However, sports minister Tracey Crouch revealed in the House of Commons recently that one firm had sent GambleAware a cheque for just 1p as part of its contribution, in my opinion this is “outrageous!”
Reacting to the news, GambleAware said in a statement on Twitter: “We welcome the increased focus on the harm gambling can cause to addicts and their loved ones”.
“Gambling like most addictions is a recognized mental health condition, but treatment is not ready available on the NHS. I appreciate the NHS resources are currently stretched and therefore completely agree that there should be a levy. I’m sure this contribution will be welcomed by the NHS, especially as gambling addiction contributes towards Mental Health issues of which is already costing the NHS millions to treat” Quoted by Graham Catterall of Consumer Money Worries.
“If this levy is to be introduced then all support networks must come together, such as GPs, social workers, citizens advice, teachers and debt counselling organization such as ourselves. I believe if we create a network and work together, we can better support those in need” Quoted by Natasha Parrott, Founder and Visionary of Consumer Money Worries.
Problem, Gambling – It’s Getting Political
The Labour Party is also demanding the maximum stake on gaming machines be reduced to £2 from £100. Watson recently called for gambling advertising to be banned on football shirts.
Problem, Gambling – It’s Getting Political and this approach is very much welcomed from Labour, but let us not forget that it was the previous Labour Government that deregulated the industry in the first place!!!
Here’s a recent article published by the Guardian about deregulation: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/29/gambling-addiction-labour-tom-watson-2005-levy
Author: Natasha Parrott
I am aware we will not be able to save everyone BUT if we can at least save 1 family, if those parents teach their children and so on for generations to come; we have achieved our mission.