The Labour Party wants to diminish the number of gambling addicts in the United Kingdom. The party has already made several proposals to prevent gambling addiction, including a ban on the use of credit cards. Labour believes that by doing so, there will be less concern about the growing number of gambling addicts. A recent report of Labour showed that there are currently 430.000 British people addicted to gambling, of which 25.000 are under the age of sixteen.
Limit on gambling advertisements
The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) is concerned about gambling addiction. It wants to limit the number of gambling advertisements after live sports games. This might happen, since many industry leaders agree that people, specially under the age of 18, shouldn’t see such advertisements. This age group is sensitive and research has shown that young people can become easily addicted to gambling. Industry leaders who agree with the UKGC are William Hill CEO Philip Bowcock and Richard Flint, Chief Executive of Sky Betting.
A new rule that might come into effect soon is the so-called ‘mandatory levy’ on the revenue of gambling companies. It means that a part of their revenue will be donated to research, treatment and education. A contribution is currently only voluntary, but some companies fail to do so.
Gambling and the use of creditcards
The mandatory levy is just one of the measures that will change the gambling market in the United Kingdom. Another one is proposal regarding to the use of credit cards. At the moment about twenty percent of the deposit transactions for gambling are made by credit cards. It means that from the 46 billion pounds of deposits every year, about 8.6 billion is done by creditcard. All these numbers can be found in a report of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). So if the proposal of Labour succeeds, it will have a big impact on the gambling market.
Research by Labour
The proposal of Labour didn’t drop out of the blue. It took the party an entire year to review the gambling industry. As a result, a long list of proposals to fight against gambling addiction was published. The ban on credit card betting with is just one of them. The research was led by Shadow Health of Social Care Secretary Jon Asworth and Deputy Leader Tom Watson.
‘Gambling addiction epidemic’
According to Tom Watson, an ‘addiction epidemic’ is currently taking place in the United Kingdom. This is because the gambling law is currently way too soft and victims don’t receive the help and support they need. As a result, the number of problem gamblers has risen to more than 430.000, and this number might increase if nothing is done. Watson says that because of the credit card people tend to bet more than they can afford, with big debts and possible gambling addictions as the sad result.
The discussion about gambling in the United Kingdom goes back to 2007. Back then the government of prime minister Tony Blair liberalized the gambling laws in the country. It led to a lot of criticism, and some Labour politicians now agree with this. For example, former Home Secretary David Blunkett said that the Blair government probably made a mistake by easing up the gambling regulations.