Whilst there is no direct biblical command not to gamble, it is far from silent on the topic. In fact, gambling can often lead to or exacerbate traits we are clearly instructed and warned to steer away from, such as greed, the love of money and selfishness.
Our vision is to see laws passed that will help protect vulnerable problem gamblers from further harm. We also want to see existing laws strengthened so the gambling industry is brought properly to account.
While for some, gambling is just harmless fun, for a significant minority it causes genuine devastation. Addiction to betting can lead to job loss, relationship breakdown, family breakdown and suicide. At the moment, there are estimated to be 430,000 adult problem gamblers in the UK. The number of 11-16 year olds who are also classified as problem gamblers is a staggering 55,000. It is well known that the growing availability of online betting, alongside a lack of restrictions and penalties on gambling advertising have ensnared a new generation of gamblers.
For some time now there has been a growing awareness of the challenges posed by problem gambling. The NHS now recognises it as a public health issue and, in 2019, a new specialist gambling clinic was opened in Leeds to help provide better support for those addicted to gambling. An All-Party Parliamentary Group on Problem Gambling has been set up and there have been numerous debates in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords on the issue.
Betting firms have also been called out for taking advantage of vulnerable people. From advertising, to encouraging gambling addicts to keep spending, to refusing to give enough to fund treatment, the spotlight is well and truly on the industry. If you care about justice and about seeing the disadvantaged supported, the ways in which the gambling industry gets away with facilitating problem gambling should cause real anger.
God calls us to be a voice for the vulnerable and to stand against injustice. Out of love for our neighbours, we seek to promote policies and laws that will protect people from the devastation caused by gambling addiction.
CARE has worked in the area of problem gambling at a policy level for many years. One of our initial aims was to see the law changed on the maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs). After years of campaigning, we were delighted that this was reduced from £100 to just £2 in May 2019.
Another significant breakthrough was in relation to online gambling. Previously, you would need to unsubscribe from every betting site individually. The problem was that there are thousands of gambling websites. What was needed was a one-stop function to allow you to block yourself from all betting sites in one go. Working with contacts in the House of Lords, we played an instrumental role in bringing this positive change to pass. CARE worked closely with Lord Browne, successfully seeing an amendment passed (known as MOSES) which led to the creation of GAMSTOP, a self-exclusion system for online gamblers. Thousands of users have now signed up, helping them break free from addiction to gambling.
There is more to read from CARE's perspective
In 2005, under the then Labour Government, MPs passed the Gambling Act, which introduced new regulations around gambling.Find out more
In its General Election Manifesto, the Conservative Party promised to launch a review of the 2005 Gambling Act
The Gambling Commission announced that from April 14, 2020 credit card gambling will be made illegal. CARE greatly welcomed this move.
The Labour MP Carolyn Harris has called on the Government to take immediate action to bring an end to the troubling relationship between sports clubs and the gambling industry.Keep reading
Online betting firm Betway has been hit with a record fine of £11.6 million by the Gambling Commission following an investigation which found it had failed to make sure funds deposited by VIP customers were not the proceeds of crimes.Keep reading
On Tuesday 3 March in the afternoon at the Northern Ireland Assembly, the new All Party Group on Reducing Harm related to Gambling was formed.Keep reading
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At the heart of all of CARE’s work is our determination to uphold the truth that human beings made in God’s image are immensely valuable and deserve to be treated with dignity and compassion.
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Together we can make a difference shaping our culture and society. Here are three things you can do right now…
Our God hears and answers prayers. Let's pray for those struggling with gambling addiction
Contact your MP to express concerns about gambling related harms
Learn more about CARE's work on problem gambling