Beware Perils of Gambling
Byline: By Joe Churcher
Health warnings should be placed on adverts for gambling, the Tories said after a report warned new casino laws could help fuel a rise in addiction.
The author of the Government-sponsored report has accused Ministers of failing to properly consider the implications of relaxing the UK's gaming laws.
Professor Jim Orford said the planned introduction of super-casinos, easier access, high-jackpot machines and the rise of online gambling would create long term problems.
"The Government, strongly pressured by the gaming industry, has gone for a major liberation of gaming and everybody I have spoken to thinks that will increase the number of problem gamblers," he said.
"I don't think they (Ministers) gave sufficient attention to the public health aspects of problem gambling, nor did they pay much attention to whether the public really wanted this relaxation,"
His report, commissioned by the Department of Trade and Industry, said new laws had encouraged new forms of gambling which they would struggle to keep pace with.
Shadow Culture Secretary Hugo Swire accused Ministers of putting the potential revenue to be made from gambling above public health.
"This report clearly demonstrates the dangers of the Government's desire to press ahead with the biggest changes to gambling in Britain's history. Rather than proceed cautiously, Ministers have actively encouraged the unprecedented growth in gambling that we are currently witnessing.
"Ministers have been more interested in the revenue gambling generates that addressing the related effects on society. In particular, they have been asleep to the impacts of on line gambling." He said: "Given the predictions in this report, we would urge Tessa Jowell to look again at our calls for better regulation of gambling, including health warnings on adverts and protection such as time restrictions for on line gambling.
"If the Government does not take the necessary action now, we will witness the consequences in years to come. …