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Political parties pledge gambling reform

All four main political parties going into the December 12th general election make specific mention of gambling in their manifestos. Congratulations to everyone who has helped put pressure on politicians to take this seriously. It seems to be working!

Labour and Liberal Democrat manifestos go furthest. Both say they would make mandatory the levy on the gambling industry, currently only voluntary, which funds research, treatment and prevention. That is excellent news in itself. Both would also put greater restrictions on gambling advertising, ban credit cards for gambling, and create a gambling ombudsman. The Lib Dem spokesperson said, ‘problem gambling often has a pernicious and incredibly sad impact on the lives of thousands and thousands of people up and down our country’, and promised that her party would, ‘take bold and decisive action to tackle problem gambling’. Labour goes furthest in promising, ‘A new Gambling Act fit for the digital age’.

The SNP says it will push the UK Government to stop underage gambling on video games and to treat gambling as a public health matter. It would support a full public health inquiry into gambling related harm.

The Conservatives would, they say, carry out a review of the 2005 Act which they describe as, ‘increasingly becoming an analogue law in a digital age’. Worryingly though, they add that such a review would have a particular focus on tackling issues around loot boxes and credit card misuse. Both are important issues but a review that had such a narrow focus would go nowhere near the heart of the matter.

Apparently there is nothing about gambling in the Green or Brexit parties’ manifestos.

Key terms: review of gambling legislation; 2019 election manifestos; Labour Party; Liberal Democrat Party; Conservative Party; Scottish National Party.

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