CARE: Christian Action, Research and Education

Gambling
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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.

Topic primer

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.

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There is more to read from CARE's perspective

Lord Browne of Belmont
I am incred­ibly grate­ful to CARE for pro­pos­ing the MOSES amend­ment to me and for work­ing closely with me until we reached the point of suc­cess. If it was not for CARE devel­op­ing the amend­ment MOSES would not be being rolled out across the UK this June. CARE has achieved a very import­ant pub­lic policy suc­cess that will help some of the most vul­ner­able in our society.
Lord Browne of Belmont Life peer

Cause history

2005 Gambling 3 0

Gambling Act Receives Royal Assent

In 2005, under the then Labour Government, MPs passed the Gambling Act, which introduced new regulations around gambling.

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4 June 2015 Gambling2 2 7

CARE backs Lord Clement Jones' Bill to reduce maximum stake on FOBTs

CARE supports the first serious legislative attempt to reduce the maximum stake on highly addictive Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to just £2. The Bill is published in the House of Lords.

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March 2016 12401962 10156361575085551 6226937112605066172 o 0

Clement-Jones Bill receives Second Reading

The Clement-Jones Bill receives its Second Reading in the House of Lords and CARE's maximum stake reduction proposal for FOBTs is mentioned during the debate.

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April 2016 Gambling machines 2 6 2

New polling shows MPs support FOBTs stake reduction

New polling shows 72 per cent of MPs want tougher regulations on high stake FOBT machines, as public pressure also begins to build.

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October 2018 Westminster Hall debate w

Chancellor delays maximum stake reduction on FOBTs

In his Autumn Budget Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that the Treasury will be delaying the cuts to Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) until October next year. This means that bookmakers will be set to make a whopping £1.8 billion before the maximum stake is reduced.

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1 November 2018 British Houses of Parliament 22

Minister resigns over FOBT stake cut delay

The sport's minister Tracey Crouch MP has resigned over the Government's decision to delay cutting the maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs).

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1 April 2019 Female sat in front of gambling machines 0 1a

New £2 maximum stake on FOBTs finally comes into force

After years of campaigning by CARE and other groups, the new maximum stake on FOBTs of £2 finally comes into force across England and Wales.

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December 2019 Gambling machines 2 2 v

Conservative Party Promises Review of 2005 Gambling Act

In its General Election Manifesto, the Conservative Party promised to launch a review of the 2005 Gambling Act

January 2020 Credit

Credit Card Gambling banned

The Gambling Commission announced that from April 14, 2020 credit card gambling will be made illegal. CARE greatly welcomed this move.

News and updates

Gambling machines 2 5 j

NI Communities Minister hints at gambling law reform by 2022

The Communities Minister for Northern Ireland has said she hopes to be able to legislate to reform gambling law before the end of the Assembly’s current mandate in March 2022.

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Gamblingcover

More than 2 million at risk from problem gambling report finds

Around two million people are being impacted by gambling related harms according to a new House of Lords Report.

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Row of betting machines casino 1c

New Poll Shows Huge Public Support for Gambling Law Reforms

The overwhelming majority of people in Northern Ireland support reforming the country’s outdated gambling laws, according to a new poll.

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Culture
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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.

We want to show a better story for our culture and society, and we want to be part of shaping that in structures that we are given as citizens in the UK…

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Take action

You can make a difference today.

Together we can make a difference shaping our culture and society. Here are three things you can do right now…

Pray.

Our God hears and answers prayers. Let's pray for those struggling with gambling addiction

Pray with us

Write to your MP.

Contact your MP and ask them to call on the Government to hold the promised inquiry into gambling laws sooner rather than later

Write to your MP

Discuss.

Learn more about CARE's work on problem gambling

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