Is the Gambling Commission fit for purpose I wonder? Banning the use of credit cards to fund gambling will only touch the sides of the problem as gambling addicts will simply find other debit cards to use. The Commission has found that almost one in four people who use a credit card to place bets are addicted to gambling “and many more are a risk of developing a problem”. They estimate that 800,000 people currently use credit cards – so that means at least 200,000 people are building up huge debts and spiralling out of control.
So much more needs to be done. Child gambling is a growing problem that needs to be urgently addressed. The National Lottery is one thing – at least the money is being allocated to good causes (as far as I’m aware) but the obscene amounts of money being generated in online gambling? It makes me feel very uneasy. Just look at Denise Coates, the boss of Bet365 (so you can bet every day of the year?) who received £323m salary last year. How is that acceptable? How did she get given an OBE? She successfully identified the potential of online gambling – which now generates around £5.4bn a year and of course, online gambling makes it super easy to do…especially for those aged below 18. The National Lottery generates around £3.1bn and casinos £1.2bn – just to put it all into a bit more perspective as to where the money is being spent.
I hope that her company is investing in addiction support groups and in improving mental health facilities in the UK to deal with the increase in gambling addiction and the link between problem gambling and suicidal thoughts or attempts. Not to mention the inevitable fall out all round for entire families. Isn’t it time that these companies acknowledge that many players are spending borrowed money which they cannot afford and the long term affects can be devastating.
How are gambling adverts allowed to be shown at every football match? On every TV break? It is out of control and completely extraordinary to me that we are allowing this to become so rife and ingrained in our every day life. This is the online world at almost it’s worst and we need to perhaps ban it online and take it back to just the high street where it can be monitored (and maybe the bingo hall). Too many people are destroying their lives simply by sitting in front of their computer to do it. Awful. I know I’m sounding like a gloom and doom merchant here, but I have become increasingly aware of how hard it is to stop once you’ve started and it’s not as if the online companies give a shit about anyone’s personal circumstances.
What does everyone else think? I know for a start that my children disagree with me and think it’s all fine…but they’ve grown up with it. To me it’s out of control and we are heading for a massive crisis unless something is done soon.
PS: Photo heading not super relevant obviously – just one of my son’s Christmas presents and I’m in that sort of mood!