IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Should we ban all gambling advertising?

23 November, 2018

Gambling is ‘like legalised hard-drug pushing’

• WITH two million people seen as “problem gamblers” and more than half a million addicts, should Labour call for curbs on advertising, as there are for drink or cigarettes, as gambling also causes addiction?

As one insider described it to me some years back, “It’s like legalised hard-drug pushing.” More young people – half a million – gamble than take drugs or drink.

There has been a fourfold increase of young gambling addicts over the past four years. The gambling industry has nearly doubled its profits to more than £15billion over the past 20 years and the negative consequence has wrought misery on millions.

Even the government recently reduced the option of placing a £100 bet every 20 seconds on fixed-odd betting terminals down to £2 maximum.

The introduction of the National Lottery in the early 1990s gave hope to many that they could win the jackpot of millions, even with the odds being stacked against them by 44 million to one.

Today, we have many different types of scratch cards, including one that promotes itself as helping the NHS. As one former employee of Camelot, which runs the Lottery, put it: “Every Saturday we have a great party as we pop champagne corks at the fortunes we are making.”

Hope springs eternally, to be exploited by an industry that is regulated but out of control. Should all advert­ising of it be banned?

PATRICK EDLIN
N1

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