health

Ministers in charge of reform must resist the gambling lobby | Letter


Wednesday’s meeting of the families of gambling-related suicide victims could not be more timely. The government is in the process of reviewing the 2005 Gambling Act (Report, 8 December), a piece of legislation that predated the digital revolution. Gambling addiction can too often lead to family breakups, crime and, in too many cases, suicide.

I spent 18 months last year chairing a Lords select committee on gambling harms, and produced a raft of reform recommendations to the act and to the remit of the Gambling Commission. My fear is that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport may soften the reforms needed under pressure from the Treasury, whose concern will be to maximise gambling tax revenues. Would that the gambling operators and the Gambling Commission had been present at this meeting of bereaved families, to better understand the urgent need for a route and branch reform of the present statutory and regulatory regime.

This might stiffen government’s resolve to resist the lobbying of the gambling operators to the Treasury.
Michael Grade
Conservative, House of Lords

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