Forthcoming plans to relax gambling laws may increase the amount of problem gamblers, warns the British Medical Association.
In a report released on 15 January, the BMA expressed concern about the potential rise in adolescent gambling addiction. They also drew attention to the links between gambling and violence, drugs and alcohol addiction among young people.
Already, there is an estimated 300,000 problem gamblers, with symptoms ranging everywhere from physical and mental health difficulties to problems with employment, finances and relationships. This figure is expected to skyrocket as casinos begin opening throughout
later this year.
Professor Jim Orford criticised the government for being ‘naïve’ and ‘playing dice with people’s health’. He said: ‘We could be talking about a million people affected by it in any one period of 12 months, and that begins to put it on a par with drug addiction problems.’
Doctors fear our health system is unprepared for the explosion in problem gamblers when our laws are relaxed this September. They have asked the gambling industry to invest £10m a year on research and treatment to help gambling addicts.
‘There needs to be treatment for problem gambling available on the NHS similar to drug and alcohol services’ said Vivienne Nathanson, of the BMA.
GOVERNMENT SUPRESSES KEY STUDY
On the same day that the BMA report was released, the Daily Mail
revealed a leaked study by the Metropolitan Police, showing that a supercasino will attract organised crime and encourage children to bet.
The Government has sustained sharp criticism for suppressing the report.
‘It is astonishing that such a vital report should have been suppressed’ said Hugo Swire, Tory culture spokesman.
Pressure group, Christian Voice, has criticised the Government for turning a blind eye to gambling problems in its eagerness to share the profits. ‘The
gambling industry may be harmful to families and communities, but it has been a goldmine for the Labour Government’, the organisation announced last year on their website.
Researchers from the
estimated that upcoming changes in gambling laws will provide the National Treasury with an extra £3 billion a year. Government’s rich friends have also benefited significantly. On 23 April, the Times reported that Britain’s gambling boom has fuelled a 20% increase in the combined wealth of the country’s super-rich ‘an extraordinary tripling in wealth of the country’s 1,000 richest people under Labour…’
The Government would prefer for the
gambling industry to grow at an even faster rate. Tony Blair originally proposed 8 supercasinos, but was forced by the Tories to reduce the number to 1. However, documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the Government may plan to introduce more supercasinos after the public has time to adjust to the idea.
Tessa Jowell, who is responsible for the Gambling Act, wrote in 2004 that ‘gambling is a massive, global industry and is entitled to a regulatory framework that ensures continued growth.’
To find out what the Bible teaches about gambling, click HERE.
For names and addresses of people to write to protesting about casinos, click HERE.
To find out about the Government’s links to the gambling industry, research on Government corruption and how the Government is trying to turn children into gambling addicts, click HERE.
To read research on the effect gambling has on people’s health and the effect it has on local communities, click HERE.