Labour has called for a ban on gambling advertisements during live sporting events in order to tackle gambling addictions.
The political party announced several new policies to help tackle problem gambling which would only come into effect if Labour wins the next general election.
Labour announced it would introduce a £100 million-a-year levy on gambling operators to help fund addiction treatment, a new rule allowing addicts to ask their bank to block gambling transactions and announced that they would stop people from using credit cards to pay for bets, the Guardian reports.
In a statement, Deputy Leader Tom Watson described problem gambling as “a public health emergency”.
He stated that existing regulations, introduced under the previous Labour government in 2007, were not “up to the job of protecting addicts”.
He said: “We must also face up to the negative effect the explosion in gambling advertising has had and act accordingly. The refusal of the current government to address any of these issues is letting problem gambling and their families down.”
Shortly after the announcement, however, Conservatives criticised the Labour party for “liberalising the gambling market when it was in power”.
A report commissioned by the Labour party discovered that there are 430,000 identified gambling addicts in the UK and 25,000 of them are aged 16 and under.
Labour’s announcements come after the Advertising Standards Authority launched an investigation into the gambling advertisements that aired during the 2018 World Cup.
Betting firms were accused of airing gambling advertisements that targeted vulnerable viewers such as children and the ASA received over 100 complaints due to the adverts.
Meanwhile, the UK Gambling Commission announced new rules to protect gamblers, raise standards in the gambling market and improve the way the industry is regulated in August.
The rules, which come into effect in October, allows the Gambling Commission to impose unlimited fines for advertising breaches including promotional gambling campaigns that appeal to children and glamorise gambling or advertisements that mislead customers.