Measures introduced to help curb online gambling harms during the coronavirus lockdown must carry on as the UK enters the ‘new normal’, according to the Gambling Health Alliance (GHA).
Following a review by the Gambling Commission, additional guidance was introduced, advising gambling operators to introduce additional protection measures.
These covered areas such as affordability assessments, promotional activities and a review of thresholds for all new and existing customers.
Public will become ‘more vulnerable’
Given the likelihood of increased financial uncertainty as the lockdown ends and higher unemployment rates, the public will be more vulnerable to gambling related harms.
It is therefore vital that the additional protection measures remain in place.
The GHA is also calling for additional restrictions to be introduced on gambling advertising after a GHA survey found that 40% of respondents who’d engaged in gambling activity have seen an increase in advertising on social media during lockdown.
Advertising ban must go further
Earlier this month, the Betting and Gaming Council said it would stop all advertising on TV and radio during lockdown, but the GHA said it wanted a ban on all gambling advertising during the lockdown.
Before any re-opening of betting shops, the Government must also review the regulations and update them to ensure the public is better protected from gambling related harm.
CARE is a member of the GHA and we wholeheartedly support the call for additional protections for the public from gambling related harms, even when the lockdown is over. The ‘new normal’ must include recognition that people will be especially vulnerable to gambling addiction. Sadly, the gambling industry has shown time and again that it’s willing to exploit people for the sake of profits. That’s why robust, legislative action is needed.