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World News

Christian charity warns of higher rate of problem gambling than previously thought

by Donna Birrell

The Christian social policy charity CARE says new data which shows a significantly higher rate of problem gambling than previously thought, shows the need for reforms to rein in ‘Big Betting’.

New data from the Gambling Commission suggests that 2.5 per cent of the adult British population could be struggling with a gambling problem.

The Commission, which regulates the betting industry, has previously calculated that the number is as low as 0.3 per cent.

The new revised figure would equate to around 1.3 million people in Great Britain with a gambling problem.

Tim Cairns, a gambling policy expert at CARE, which campaigns for compassionate reforms that put people before profits, said:

“These figures are alarming but not surprising to charities working in this area, which are concerned about the regulative landscape we inhabit.

"The sad reality is that big gambling has spent 20 years making their product more addictive, easier to play, and available 24/7 whilst ignoring pleas from suffering individuals. This has led to endemic levels of problem gambling.

"The government has promised changes to gambling legislation. If gamblers are to be kept safe, advertising needs to be cut and the gambling industry needs to be placed under a levy that is sufficient to properly meet the public health crisis it has inspired. At least five per cent of industry profits.

"Other measures are needed as well - the industry must be reined in to ensure that it is not free to target the vulnerable in years to come."

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