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Yasmin Moore December 6, 2022 3 min read
Sorrowful Mothers: “Gambling Kills” Should Appear in Ads
Kay Wadsworth, the mother of 32-year-old Kimberley who took her own life because of huge gambling debts, says that the slogan “Gambling Kills“ should be on every betting advertisement.
Kay and five other bereaved mothers sent a letter to Rishi Sunak asking for more robust regulation of the gambling industry. The delivery of the letter comes at a moment when the UK government is finishing the expected gambling white paper, which should be published if not before Christmas, then in the first days of January 2023.
Kay Wadsworth admits that she sold her home in order to pay Kimberley’s gambling debts. When asked about the amount of her daughter’s debt, Kay said that it did not matter how much Kimberley owed, because the woman paid the highest price, which was her own life.
Letter to Rishi Sunak
In their letter to the current Prime Minister, the mothers stated that their children had never been educated or warned about the risks of gambling addiction. They also asked Sunak if he knew that some forms of gambling have risk and addiction rates of 45% and could be compared to addiction to heroin. They also mentioned in the letter that people with problem gambling and disorder are 15 times more exposed to the risk of suicide than other people.
Gambling Industry Denies Betting to Be Seen as an Addiction
However, the gambling industry opposes the idea that betting could be as dangerous and addictive as heroin. According to the spokesperson for the Betting and Gaming Council, each one of the cases of suicide is tragic and it is not right to comment on them case by case. He added that per the Gambling Commission’s data, the percentage of problem gamblers in the UK adult community decreased from 0.4% to 0.3% in 2022.
Statutory Levy on Gambling Companies
Gambling With Lives campaigners insist that the bill must include a statutory levy to raise funds from the betting industry in order to pay for independent information, education, and addiction treatment as well.
Liz Ritchie, a co-founder of Gambling With Lives, who lost her son Jack due to gambling addiction, stated that the current voluntary system is not tough enough. The existing voluntary levy means that gambling companies facilitate funds where and when they want, which is not enough to ensure adequate information and treatment for gamblers and gambling addicts.
The betting industry states that it puts £110 million every year into Gamble Aware, an independent charity whose aim is to keep people safe from gambling harms.
As of October 2022, the UK Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) banned footballers and celebrities from appearing in gambling and betting adverts.