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    Scholar on UK Gambling Problem: Gambling Industry and Government Need to Do More

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    Labour is calling for a ban on gambling advertising during live sporting events in a bid to tackle problem gambling. Sputnik spoke to Carolyn Downs senior lecturer in Sociological and business-based approaches to gambling at University of Lancaster about Labour's proposals.

    Sputnik: What do you make of Labours proposals around gambling in sport?

    Carolyn Downs: I think these are excellent proposals, because while many people gamble responsibly and have no harm from it and enjoy a lot, unfortunately these ads encourage people who do have a problem which is quite a large number in the UK over 4 hundred thousand people, it encourages them to place bets and chase losses and that’s a problem.

    Sputnik: how beneficial could the £140million that Tom Watson is proposing be to treating addicts?

    Carolyn Downs: Absolutely the gambling industry netted about £13 billion last year; so much more could be done in terms of getting more income from the gambling industry. We need to remember that the UK problem gambling treatment is funded from a donation from the industry that are expected by the government. We only get about £8 million for treating people with problems with gambling disorders a year, that’s not enough money. So we do need more to help people that have unfortunately fallen into problems with gambling.

    Sputnik: Do gambling companies need to do more to protect those who are addicted?

    Carolyn Downs: I think the gambling industry and government need to do more. I think there are serious issues with areas of gambling that are poorly regulated and loopholes that the industries do use.  For example, virtual gambling games are not regulated at all, that is where it is a virtual currency, which means children can easily access these games and they do access them. It’s very easy to move from virtual games that are not real money onto real money games, and children are easily able to bypass the controls in place. So we do need to do much more and people that are very vulnerable are still not being protected by the industry. There are operators that do take their responsibilities very seriously, don’t get me wrong, but there is more that can be done and for many operators until there are stricter regulations unfortunately they won’t meet the practice levels that some of the better operators are doing.

    The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker, and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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