Sheffield gambling activist attacked after leaving TV studio
A Sheffield gambling activist believes he was deliberately targeted by attackers who set upon him after he left a TV studio.
But Adam Bradford, who has campaigned for tougher betting regulations since his father was jailed in 2014 for stealing to fund his addiction, insists he will not be deterred by what happened.
The 27-year-old entrepreneur from Waterthorpe says he was knocked to the ground by three masked men on bikes shouting his name, one of whom tried to wrestle his phone from his hand, yesterday afternoon in central London.
He had just finished being interviewed for ITV about a call by the Children’s Commissioner for tighter rules to protect children from gambling and he was heading towards Waterloo railway station when the attack took place at around 2.20pm.
Mr Bradford was thankfully not seriously injured, sustaining only minor bruising and a cut to his arm, but he has been left badly shaken by the incident, which happened just three months after he had water thrown over him outside a BBC studio.
“Unfortunately there are a lot of people who don't agree with what we’re saying and what we’re trying to do, including some angry gambling addicts who think we’re taking their leisure activity away,” he said.
“We also know there’s a lobby both within and outside the industry which tries to make life difficult for us sometimes.
“Since we started the Safer Online Gambling Group that’s really intensified but I never thought this sort of thing would happen.
“In Sheffield, we’re working with the council and with Public Health England to tackle serious issues with young people becoming addicted to gambling, which often starts with them betting with their friends at school.
“It’s heartbreaking people want to sabotage that work, but if they think a stunt like this will make me back down they’re mistaken. I won’t give up that easily.”
Mr Bradford and his father David have already enjoyed considerable success with their campaigning, having helped get the maximum stake on highly addictive fixed odds betting terminals reduced, and more NHS support promised for gambling addicts.
They now have their sights set, among other things, on the video game ‘loot boxes’ which are estimated to be costing young people and their families in the UK more than £270 million a year.
Mr Bradford and his father have previously spoken of their frustration at the abuse, including online trolling, they have faced as a result of their campaigning.
He said yesterday’s attack had been reported to the Metropolitan Police, who are investigating.