This briefing is a response to the Government’s deregulation of Britain’s gambling industry. The Gambling Bill 2005 is unprecedented in both its scope and aim of encouraging and facilitating gambling. Yet the evidence overwhelmingly shows the Bill will lead to a massive increase in problem gambling.
A number of Christian groups have joined forces to campaign against betting firms advertising in sports.
Stopbettingads.com is supported by the Church of England and Christian organisations, including Ambassadors Football and Share Jesus International.
The campaign comes as the Government considers reforms to gambling law, which could see the most significant changes to the advertising and running of the industry since the introduction of the 2005 Gambling Act.
‘Long term harm’
The group highlights that problem gamblers are eight times more likely to have attempted to take their own life than the general population, with one in five having considered suicide.
Martin Bateman, CEO of Ambassadors Football, stressed how technology has made gambling in sport “easier than ever”.
“The effects of problem gambling not only affect the person gambling, but families, friends and their community can suffer long term harm”, he said.
The Director of Share Jesus International, Andy Frost, agreed.
“Gambling advertising presents betting as a bit of harmless fun and yet lives are being destroyed and futures severed. The impact of this addiction is far-reaching and legislation must step in to prevent further lives from being lost.”
lives are being destroyed and futures severed
Speaking to Premier Christian News, Frost lamented the “overwhelming” presence of gambling advertising in sport, noting that “if you watch one game of football on a Saturday afternoon, you might see 15 or 16 different gambling adverts.”
Currently, over half of the teams in the top two tiers of English football have betting firm sponsors on their kit.
Gambling with our future
At the time of the Gambling Act 2005, which liberalised gambling laws, The Christian Institute and others warned the legislation would lead to an increase in problem gambling.
The Institute published ‘Gambling with our future’, a booklet warning of the dangers of the Blair Government’s radical gambling proposals.