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Gambling Health Alliance: we have a chance to make gambling safer

A public health approach to gambling should include protecting the whole population and those who are at risk and currently experiencing harm, including young people, says the Gambling Health Alliance following the release of the latest study.

It found that 58 per cent of gamblers and 61 per cent of non-gamblers would support a £2 limit on online slots, as opposed to opposition from eight per cent and five per cent respectively.

The survey, conducted by Yonder between 26-28 February 2021, is drawn from a representative sample of 2,094 British adults aged 18 and over. Of the sampled population, 1,442 reported having gambled, with examples including lottery, sports betting, bingo, casinos, slots, online gambling or scratch cards, while 652 had never done so.

The GHA adds that the public health approach should also take a preventive and precautionary perspective; normalise gambling by reducing exposure to it; introduce equivalent measures in online and offline ecosystems; invest in research, education and treatment to build an evidence base for effective policy making; and collaborate between key stakeholders from different backgrounds.

The findings come with just a week left until the call for evidence for the review of the Gambling Act closes, with 56 per cent of gamblers and 66 per cent of non-gamblers supporting a ban on all gambling advertising in or near sports venues.

Louisa Mason, leader of the Gambling Health Alliance, said: "We now have a real opportunity, through the Gambling Act review, to make gambling safer. For too long the gambling ecosystem has developed into a powerful mechanism that has the potential to unleash harm and destroy lives. 

"We now have the chance to do it better and protect all those who play in the UK - and the public support this. Let's raise standards that will improve the safety and enjoyment of the game."    

The report added that 57 percent of gamblers and 63 percent of non-gamblers would support a ban on all gambling for those under 18, while 53 percent and 64 percent, respectively, would support the suppression of VIP programs.

Matt Zarb-Cousin, director of Clean Up Gambling, added: "Public support for gambling reform is overwhelming. It is one of the few issues that unites the country across political, demographic and regional divides. 

"There is a growing consensus that our gambling laws are outdated and regulation is failing. The Government must not waste the opportunity presented by this review to put this right."

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