Gambleaware chairperson warns on gambling proliferation

News on 21 Aug 2017

Writing in The Times newspaper over the weekend, Gambleaware chairperson Kate Lampard observed that it seems gambling is everywhere in the UK these days through advertising, television coverage of sports events, the ubiquitous FOBTs in betting shops and football team sponsorships.

She notes that according to data company Neilsen GBP 312 million was spent annually by gambling forms on advertising alone…and that does not include marketing investment made by online operators.

And she opines that in the next 12 months, it is likely that more than half of the revenue generated by gambling businesses operating in Britain will be online.

Social and video gaming offer an easy transition into gambling and increasingly the difference between the two is unclear, Lampard claims, presumably in a reference to the burgeoning eSports sector.

All gambling products carriy risks, she points out, urging that the public demand that all those profiting from commercial gambling do everything possible to protect players, especially young people, from being harmed.

Lampard is concerned at the impact of online advertising on children, claiming that the industry has spent GBP 1.4 billion on advertising since 2012, with online casinos doubling their marketing budgets over the past five years.

“With the average age at which children start to watch post-watershed TV unsupervised being 11¾, restrictions based on a 9pm watershed may offer little protection. We need to balance the array of advertising with information about the risks,” she suggests.

Lampard says that problem gambling is twice as common among young people as the population as a whole, pointing to Gambling Commission studies that had found problem gambling is twice as common among people aged between 16 and 24 than the population as a whole.

“As a society, we should be concerned about the rising risk of harm from wider access and more regular participation in gambling on future generations, resulting in a possible public health crisis in gambling addiction,” Lampard concludes.

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