UK GOVERNMENT UNDER PRESSURE FROM SNP TO TACKLE GAMBLING ADDICTION
SNP LEAD HOUSE OF COMMONS DEBATE CALLING FOR COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGY AND KEY REFORMS
The UK government has come under pressure from SNP MPs to do more to tackle gambling-related harm – after they led a Commons debate calling for a comprehensive strategy and key reforms to tackle the problem. Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, SNP Westminster Spokesperson on Sport and Chair of the APPG on Scottish Sport, is pressing for a joined-up strategy across UK government departments to tackle the problem of problem gambling. The Parliamentary debate followed the implementation of the maximum unit stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) of £2, which comes into force in two weeks’ time. Last year, the Tory government was forced into a climb down over highly-addictive FOBTs, following pressure from the SNP and campaign groups. The debate also followed a successful SNP amendment to the Finance Bill requiring the UK government to undertake a review of the public health effects of gambling terminals. Commenting, Gavin Newlands MP said:
“The Tories need to step up to the plate and do more to tackle gambling addiction and all the harm that comes with it. This action must include urgent reforms to end the now growing problem of child gambling and must be part of an extensive cross-department strategy from the UK Government.
“The SNP has already forced the Tory Government into a climbdown against tackling highly-addictive Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, this was a step in the right direction but it is high time the Tory government addressed the issue in a way that matches the scale of the problem. “The UK Government must now listen carefully to the evidence that has been put forward by MPs across parties and other organisations like Gambling with Lives.
“The harm that gambling does to people is often sadly invisible, but it is a serious problem that plunges thousands of people into debt ever year whilst destroying lives and leaving families in ruin.
“The UK Government can’t afford to keep kicking tis further down the road, I sincerely hope they will act before it is too late for too many families.”