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Christians back plan for health warnings on betting machines

James Mildred from Christian Action, Research and Education (CARE) told Premier, "this move is hugely welcome and long overdue.

"Making punters more aware of the risks associated with gambling is a key way of protecting people from the harms caused by gambling addiction."

The proposal for health warnings is part of a three-year strategy announced by the Gambling Commission which will treat problem gambling as a public health issue.

The National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms aims to co-ordinate work to tackle the problems caused by the betting industry.

As a first step, Public Health England will publish its first review of evidence on health harms relating to gambling in spring next year.

Claire Murdoch, national director for mental health at NHS England, said: "There is increasing evidence of a link between problem gambling and stress, depression and other mental health issues and this is an important step in the battle to reduce the harm caused.

"The NHS is playing its part with the Long Term Plan committing to an increase in mental health services for patients with a gambling problem, but gambling addiction is not just the NHS's problem - it is an issue for the whole of society affecting people of all ages and backgrounds which is why it is everyone's responsibility to act."

The strategy aims to create a partnership of health bodies, charities, regulators and businesses. The Commission is focussing on two key areas. The first is focussed on providing better information and education about the risks of gambling. The second is to improve treatment and support for problem gamblers.

Gambling Commission chairman William Moyes said: "This new strategy will provide us and our partners the opportunity to make much faster progress to reduce gambling harms. It will not just benefit the health and wellbeing of those directly affected and in need of support, but also those such as friends, families, communities and wider society."

James Mildred of CARE has welcomed the strategy and the package of measures the Gambling Commission has outlined: "We need bold, proactive ideas to help reduce the harm caused by gambling addiction.

"The proposals by the Gambling Commission are a step in the right direction and we are especially pleased they are demanding a mandatory levy to raise more funds for research, education and support services."

But the charity will monitor the implementation and effectiveness of the proposals.

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