GamCare user survey reveals support for bans on VIP schemes and shirt sponsorship

| By Robert Fletcher
Outright bans on gambling operators sponsoring football shirts and VIP betting schemes were among the most supported proposals in a survey of GamCare users in response to the government’s consultation on the review of 2005 Gambling Act.

Launched in December of last year, the review is seeking to update the current version of the Act, with stake limits, the role of the Gambling Commission and new ad restrictions to be considered.

As part of the consultation process, GamCare opened a survey in order to gather opinion on proposals for the review, to which 343 people responded.

Among these was a ban on gambling operators sponsoring football shirts, with 83% of those who responded to the survey saying that they would support such a rule, while 80% wanted a ban on operators sponsoring sports events.

Some 84% called for further restrictions on advertising to children and young people, while 89% wanted to see access to gambling taken away from children completely.

Other key findings included that 64% of users thought more resources should be available to problem gamblers and their loved ones. More than half of those who took part in the survey had received some form of help for their gambling.

Respondents also called for better safeguarding for those experiencing harms, with 71% urging further limits introduced to online gambling accounts and 83% wanting a ban on VIP schemes that reward people for gambling more.

“The recent pandemic has only increased common risk factors including isolation, boredom and money worries,” GamCare chief executive Anna Hemmings said. “Young men under 35 make up the majority of those who seek help via our helpline.

“We want to encourage anyone who is worried about themselves or a loved one to contact us – we can offer expert advice and arrange for them to get the support they need.”

The survey also found that respondents wanted more investment in research, education and treatment to protect and support those at risk of or experiencing harm from gambling. This should include support reflecting the needs of young adults, women, and members of BAME communities.

GamCare said respondents wanted to see more safer gambling messaging used by gambling operators, including clear signposting to the National Gambling Treatment Service.

In addition, 84% of respondents said they wanted to see gambling companies cover the cost of new research, education and treatment for gambling harms.

“The review of the 2005 Gambling Act has come at just the right time as we are climbing out of lockdown in the UK, and the increase those seeking help with their online gambling has become a worrisome problem,” Hemmings said.

“We want people to realise the first step is to seek non-judgmental help from our trained advisers after what has been a terribly damaging year for us all.

“Gambling is a serious health harm and we welcome discussion to bring this problem to the forefront of addiction issues, and to ensure we can secure sustainable funds to meet the needs of those affected.”

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