|The UK Gambling Bill will create more gambling addicts, says the UK psychiatrist who first defined the characteristics of pathological gambling as adopted by the World Health Organisation. |
Dr Emanuel Moran wrote to The Guardian newspaper in reply to claims made by Tessa Jowell, the UK culture secretary on April 23 about the UK’s draft Gambling Bill. Moran says Jowell is not incorrect in saying that the bill will not produce up to 700,000 problem gamblers. However, Jowell ignores the facts which, Moran says, shows that increased accessibility of gambling and peer pressure leads to more excessive gambling.
Although Moran lauds the setting up of a gambling commission, he complains that the commission will have its hands tied in its obligation ‘o protect the vulnerable’, as the legislation provides for an increase in gambling outlets, types of gambling, and prize money.
Jowell said ‘if this legislation gave rise to an increase in problem gambling then ... it would be bad legislation’.
The same article also carried a letter from Councillor Steven Bate from Blackpool, which cited evidence that half the take from slot machines comes from problem gamblers, with the other half cannibalizing customers from existing leisure outlets. Bate disagrees with Jowell that the Gambling Bill is focused on social responsibility, saying: “The government has failed to allow any scrutiny of the two key measures that could double or triple the number of pathological gamblers.”