Gambling firms are set to be hit by tougher regulations as the industry regulator has announced a new three-year strategy to combat problem gambling.
The Gambling Commission has announced it is adopting a “public health” approach to gambling addiction.
It will pressure gambling companies to be more up front about the dangers of gambling – such as suicide, loss of employment, debt, crime and family breakdown – by issuing increasingly heavy fines.
The Gambling Commission’s Executive Director Tim Miller said previous messaging of “When the fun stops, stop” was “of its time”.
He said that the dangers surrounding gambling have not been taken seriously in the past. “That has changed now with a clear commitment from Public Health England. I would expect more effective and stronger messaging as a result.”
The Commission is expected to announce stronger measures in the coming year, which would ban the use of betting on credit cards and introduce compulsory age-verification.
NHS England’s National Director for Mental Health Claire Murdoch said: “There is increasing evidence of a link between problem gambling and stress, depression and other mental health issues and this is an important step”.
While the announcement was largely welcomed, the Bishop of St Albans Dr Alan Smith pointed out that there was little detail or clarity about measurable success in the strategy.
He said: “If my fears are founded, the industry may use this strategy as a fig leaf, with little room for public scrutiny available because metrics of success and failure are not made clear.”
Why is gambling wrong?
Mainstream Christian belief has always viewed gambling as incompatible with the Bible’s teaching.