New gambling legislation is ‘far too lenient’

New gambling legislation brought in this week has been criticised as not being stringent enough.
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The industry’s regulator, the Gambling Commision, announced changes last year with the aim of lowering the risk of crime and gambling’s effect on vulnerable people.

The changes mean gamblers will only have to fill out one form to exclude themselves from bookmakers and casinos in their local area, rather than a separate one for each establishment.

Adam Bradford, a social activist for fairer gambling, who seen the effects of problem gambling first-hand through his father’s addiction, has criticised the changes as being too lenient and says more needs to be done by the industry to help gamblers.

“They don’t really go far enough to be honest,” he said. “The industry as a whole think it’s some kind of achievement that they’ve put this scheme in place. The problem with that is the person doing the gambling has to recognise they’ve got a problem to remove themselves from it and as anybody would tell you with any kind of addiction, when you’re in the grip of it, it’s very hard to just turn round and say ‘I don’t want to do this anymore’ because you’re addicted.

“It kind falls down at the first hurdle really. I think the question we need to be asking is not is it a good thing that we’re asking people to self-exclude, but why are there so many people that the industry thinks it is necessary to put this measure in place and I think that’s the point that is missing across the whole debate really.

“I think the government can help to push legislation through, I don’t want gambling to banned and I don’t want it to be heavily, heavily restricted, but I think there does need to be some sensible measures like a cap on how much you can spend on betting terminals. I know there is a campaign asking for a £2 minimum spend, I don’t think that’s the right number, I think that’s probably a bit low as that would really destroy the industry.”

Bradford, who is a part of Rethink Gambling, an organisation who aim to enhance the prevention, awareness and treatment of gambling addiction, believes more needs to be done to prevent gambling becoming an even bigger problem

He added: “We want the industry to be a bit more responsible, we want them to not advertise as much, put more limits on how much you can spend and fund more treatment for people. There’s very little people can do once they’ve got a problem, there’s only a free helpline and some counselling at the moment, it’s very, very limited.”

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