New measures to tackle gambling addiction 'not tough enough', says Sheffield campaigner

A Sheffield anti-gambling campaigner says new measures designed to combat addiction do not go far enough.

Tuesday, 31st October 2017, 8:49 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 10:50 am
The Government is considering a range of measures to tackle gambling addiction. Photo: PA

The Government today announced it would cut the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals from £100 to between £50 and £2.

The change is part of a package of new rules being considered following a review into gambling.

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Other measures include raising standards of player protection for online games and changing advertising guidelines.

Culture minister Tracey Crouch said it was 'vital' to find a balance between 'socially-responsible growth and protecting the most vulnerable, including children, from gambling-related harm'.

But Sheffield man Adam Bradford, who has been calling for new rules since his dad David was sent to prison after stealing more than £50,000 to fund his gambling habit, said the Government needed to take a tougher approach.

Mr Bradford, 25, from Waterthorpe, said: "Whilst we welcome a reduction in the stakes that can be bet on fixed-odds betting terminals, the Government has not been heavy handed enough.

David and Adam Bradford, from Waterthorpe.

"The only possible considerations the industry can be taking in response now is about the protection of their profits."

The Government has launched a 12-week consultation on its fixed-odds machine proposals. It has asked the Gambling Commission for more information about how better tracking and monitoring might be used to protect players.

A two-year advertising campaign backed by GambleAware, the Advertising Association, broadcasters and gambling industry groups has also been announced.

The money will come from gambling operators, including online-only betting firms, with airspace and digital media provided by broadcasters.

David and Adam Bradford, from Waterthorpe.

But Mr Bradford, who along with his mother Denise and brothers Alex and Ryan are trying to rebuild their lives now their father is back at home, said the Government's report was 'too narrow in focus'.

"A campaign run by the industry to highlight problem gambling is not enough to prevent those who are vulnerable to addiction from being captured by gambling related problems," he added.

"We already know through research that gambling should be treated as a mental health problem yet there is little treatment available, GambleAware itself calling for mandatory levy on the industry to donate to charities and increase the support and care available to those suffering."

Mr Bradford said measures to tackle online gambling were 'measly' and would result in people moving from fixed-odds terminals to the internet.

And he said more account should have been taken of the future impact of betting adverts.

"The report needs to consider measures to limit the amount spent on online gambling and place a ban on all gambling adverts before the watershed," he said.