Government should not backtrack on gambling reforms, says Christian charity

(Photo: Unsplash/Emil Kalibradov)

Christian charity CARE is urging the government not to water down planned reforms to gambling laws.

The government had signaled plans to ban betting adverts on football strips and impose a mandatory tax on gambling companies as part of wider industry reforms.

The money raised from the tax was supposed to fund research into the growing problem of gambling addiction.

The Daily mail reported on Monday that those plans have now been shelved by ministers from the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport.

Ross Hendry, CEO of CARE, expressed concern over the reports.

He said the current laws “are not fit for purpose” and “let people down”.

“Gambling addiction has grown exponentially in recent years. There are believed to be around 400,000 addicts in the UK, 55,000 of whom are children,” he said.

“Compulsive gambling causes enormous harm to people, leading to debt, depression, alcoholism, homelessness and even suicide.

“The average compulsive gambler commits suicide every day. This is simply not acceptable. A compassionate society does not sit idly by and let this happen.”

To research by CARE last year revealed that betting companies account for half of Premier League shirt sponsors, while a total of 19 clubs have some sort of partnership with betting companies.

Mr Hendry continued: “Ministers must know that by weakening reforms they are failing in their duty of care to those they serve.

“Their withdrawal of necessary action today will see individuals suffer terribly who might not otherwise have suffered. We call on the government to reconsider the gambling tax and the measures to limit advertisements on gambling betting in sports.”

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