Lockdown blues hit gamblers




While the COVID-19 crisis has been a global tragedy, spare a special thought for gambling addicts – men and women confined to their homes for long periods and forced to watch an endless stream of adverts produced by betting companies.

For many thousands of gamblers in the UK, the pandemic has made it harder for them to battle their addiction.

‘When I’m sat at home now, every other advert will be for gambling, commented Alex, a 41-year-old addict. ‘It’s just everywhere during lockdown.”

Alex previously battled with drug and alcohol addiction, but he said recovering from his gambling habit has been more difficult as betting is harder to avoid.

During the initial lockdown, Britain’s largest betting firms agreed to end all TVand radio advertising for a six-week period. Sadly, this has not been repeated since.

Curbs introduced?

Jordan (not his real name) used online gambling companies more than usual during lockdown when the betting shops he normally frequents were closed.

He said this ‘made it worse’ as ‘you can do a lot of damage in the shops but it’s not like what you can do online, with £500 spins in seconds’.

Research by the Gambling Health Alliance revealed that the majority of the public supports tougher betting restrictions to protect gamblers. Of just over 2,000 people whose views were collated, a clear majority were in favour of a ban on all gambling advertising in, or near, sports grounds or venues. There was also a majority for a £2 limit on online slot machines.

Good news may be just around the corner for everyone who wishes to see curbs introduced to limit the excesses of the multi-billion pound industry.

The Government is currently looking at introducing reforms to gambling laws, which could see the most significant changes to advertising and the running of the industry since the introduction of the 2005 Gambling Act.



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