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Press release: Vulnerable at risk after pandemic betting surge

17 May 2021
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Drastic action is needed to prevent a "tsunami of gambling-related harms" in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, campaigners have warned.

Social policy charity CARE points to a new study from Bristol University that found regular gamblers were six times more likely to bet online during the pandemic, with infrequent punters also twice as likely to gamble online.

Alarmingly, the research, involving 2,600 young adults, also indicated that those with financial problems before the pandemic were more likely to bet during the first lockdown.

Chief Communications Officer for CARE James Mildred commented:

"The surge in online gambling highlighted in this study suggests that we may see a tsunami of gambling-related harms in the wake of the COVID pandemic. More young people are gambling more often and for some, this could mean a descent into addiction, with all of the associated harms.

"Gambling addiction causes genuine devastation. It can lead to catastrophic debt, job loss, relationship breakdown and even suicide. It was at huge levels before the pandemic and all the signs point to it being worse as life returns to normal again. Alongside mental health, it will be one of the greatest public health crises in the post-COVID world.

"The economic devastation caused by the pandemic is clear but not all industries have suffered. Betting firms have profited over the past year, in part by taking advantage of vulnerable people. From wall-to-wall 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.

"We are calling on parliamentarians to do more to curb the betting industry and especially online gambling. Failing to do so now will see problem gamblers and young people - some of our most vulnerable citizens - suffer in years to come."


Notes for Editors:

CARE is a well-established mainstream Christian charity providing resources and helping to bring Christian insight and experience to matters of public policy and practical caring initiatives. CARE is represented in the UK Parliaments and Assemblies.

For interview requests or more information please contact Jamie Gillies: // 07384467819

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