A new poll by the Gambling Health Alliance (GHA) has found that the UK general public is in favour of tighter safer gambling measures.
The GHA commissioned a poll with Yonder on safer gambling measures amidst the UK Government’s review of the Gambling Act 2005. Yonder surveyed 2,094 adults in the UK between February 26th and 28th, and the GHA has found that most of those surveyed back tighter restrictions.
As reported by the Royal Society For Public Health, the poll found that the majority of those surveyed were in favour of a £2 limit on online slots, a ban on all VIP schemes, a new levy on the industry, and new rules only allowing casino products to enter the UK once they’ve been completely assessed.
Most of those surveyed also backed a ban on all gambling advertisements, affordability checks on anyone who gambles, and a ban on all activities for those who are aged under 18.
Comparatively, between 10 and 20% of gamblers who were surveyed opposed a ban on all activities for those under 18, affordability checks, and a ban on advertisements at sports venues or grounds. For non-gamblers, opposition fell to below 10%.
Finally, the survey found that less than 10% of gamblers and non-gamblers surveyed opposed the £2 slot limit, the ban on VIP schemes, the new industry levy, and the licensing of products after assessments.
Louisa Mason, the GHA Lead, said in a statement: “We have a real opportunity right now with the Gambling Act Review to make gambling safer. For too long the gambling ecosystem has developed into a powerful mechanism that has the potential to unleash harm and devastate lives.
“We now have the chance to do better and protect all those who gamble in the UK – and the public supports this. Let’s drive up standards that will improve safety and enjoyment.”
Matt Zarb-Cousin, the Director of Clean Up Gambling, added: “Public support for gambling reform is overwhelming. It’s one of the few issues uniting the country across political, demographic and regional lines.
“There is a growing consensus that our gambling laws are outdated and regulation is not fit for purpose. The government cannot waste the opportunity this review presents to make it right.”
In its report, the GHA called the UK Government to take a “public health approach” in its review of the Gambling Act 2005, urging it to protect the entire UK population from gambling-related harm, including young people.
The GHA has urged the Government to take a precautionary and preventative perspective, to de-normalise gambling by reducing exposure, to having equivalent measures on both online and offline gambling, and to invest in the research, education and treatment of building effective policies. It’s urged the Government to act on the support from both gamblers and non-gamblers and create effective protection and robust regulation.
The news comes after we reported last week that Bristol City Council has implemented a ban on gambling advertisements, prohibiting them from appearing on all council-owned spaces.
Meanwhile, gambling charity YGAM has announced it’s formed an alliance with Red Card and TalkGen for an educational initiative named ‘Preventing Gambling Harms in Diverse Communities’, which aims to educate young people from ethnic minority backgrounds on its harm.
According to YGAM, the alliance is part of a collaboration with Clearview Research under which workshops will be delivered to people aged 14 to 24 from ethnic minority groups throughout London and the Home Counties.
What’s more, TalkGEN and Red Card will take part in content co-creator sessions with YGAM and Clearview Research to combine their resources and create educational material for young people, including gambling-related harm awareness films, self-help information, and more.
Lee Willows, the CEO of YGAM, said in a statement: “We’re proud to be part of this purposeful collaboration with lived experience and diversity at its heart. The project builds on the recommendations from the Clearview Research; ‘Gambling: The Young BAME Perspective’, commissioned by GambleAware in 2019.
“YGAM will take the lead on the training of community and faith leaders who once trained will deliver the programme to young people.”
He added: “I am confident that collectively we’ll deliver some helpful perspectives on how to engage with minority communities, contributing to the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.”
Tony Kelly, former footballer and the CEO of Red Card Gambling Support Project CIC, added: “We are pleased to be working with YGAM and TalkGEN on this project, as I believe we share the same goals and vision.
“This initiative is very much needed as gambling addiction within these hard-to-reach communities is something that is still a taboo subject so it is important we break down that barrier of stigma.”
He added: “I hope to use my professional football career and my story to engage our young target audience on this topic. Coming from a Caribbean background myself, I hope many young people from the community will hear my voice as one they can listen and relate to.”
Kishan Patel, the CEO at TalkGEN CIC, said: “In general, young people today are increasingly growing up with finger-tip access and exposure to gambling products and advertisements online.
“Despite this, the vast majority are not aware of the sudden or insidious but potentially devastating effects of gambling harm. It’s just not talked about enough, especially in schools or GP surgeries where it is desperately needed.
He added: “The situation we have now is one where young people are vulnerable to harms from their gambling or a family member’s gambling, but sadly feel unable to access help and support.”