Response to gambling white paper
APCC Joint Addictions and Substance Misuse Leads, said: “While many people gamble unproblematically, the evidence that problem gambling is linked to crime is clear and this must be tackled with the same urgency and focus as other addictions if we are to cut crime and reduce reoffending.
“We are delighted to see that the government has listened to us and other campaigners and is proposing a statutory levy on the gambling industry to fund prevention, support and treatment for problem gamblers. We will be working to ensure that Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) can access this new funding for local initiatives to tackle gambling-related harm and crime.
“We have been shocked to hear of the many cases where online gambling has drawn people into serious criminality; stealing or defrauding in order to fund their addictive betting. We therefore welcome proposals for stake limits on online slot machines and we will be pushing to ensure these are set appropriately. We are also pleased to see the recognition of the importance of affordability checks and the need to address irresponsible use of ‘free bet’ and other promotions. We also need to get serious about prevention; that’s why we’ve consistently expressed our concerns as PCCs about ‘loot boxes’ that normalise gambling and draw in children and young people, which need tackling too.
“Whist many of these proposals are welcome, this White Paper, itself delayed, initiates a further period of consultation. Gambling addition can cause significant harm to individuals, their families and the wider society and it is vital these are not underestimated. As PCCs we champion the voices of victims and are increasingly commissioning services to support victims of gambling related harms. However, the significant impact of these harms must be addressed as a matter of urgency. We will be pressing to shape these proposals and to ensure they are developed and implemented at a pace that recognises the urgent need to get to grips with this problem now.”