Duncan Stephenson, chair of the GHA and Deputy Chief Executive of RSPH, said, evidently, the current Gambling Act is failing to provide effective protection.
‘For the last 15 years, the public has been at the mercy of a gambling industry which has taken advantage of sluggish and inadequate regulation.
‘We have seen the devastating effects of this on lives lost and ruined, with gambling companies shamelessly exploiting the young and vulnerable, making obscene amounts of money at the expense of some of our most deprived communities and polluting everyday activities from football matches to video games.
‘This review of the Gambling Act is long overdue and it is time to put the often spoken about ‘public health approach’ into practice.
‘Just as we have rightly taken steps to ramp up the regulation of other harmful products such as tobacco and junk food, we now need to do the same with gambling.
‘So many lives have been destroyed by the wild-west which exists, particularly in online and mobile gambling, and we need laws that protect our people from this.’
The GHA is calling for better protection for the young and vulnerable, such as a cap on stakes and speed limits, de-normalising gambling and reducing exposure to it by banning all forms of gambling advertising and sponsorship in sports.
It also wants equivalent measures to be put in place between the online and offline world, such as classing video game loot boxes as a form of gambling and investment in research, education and treatment, funded by a statutory 1% industry levy.
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