A local politician has shown his support for Responsible Gambling Week.

Gavin Newlands MP attended a Parliamentary drop-in event yesterday in support of Responsible Gambling Week.

The campaign, the biggest cross-industry campaign of its kind involves every major operator in the UK and Ireland, with more than 127,000 staff taking part at over 11,000 gambling venues and online sites and is backed by gambling charities. Tips about keeping gambling safe are being shared with customers and those who need specialist help are being referred to the charity GambleAware. The campaign has also been supported by the 72 clubs in the English Football Club, Premier League clubs and leading racecourses.

Photo: (Left to Right): Miles Baron, CEO The Bingo Association; Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, John Hagan, Chairman of the Industry group for Responsible Gambling and Linda Malcolm, Operations Manager, BACTA
Photo Credit: Sam Pearce

The campaign has been organised by the Industry Group For Responsible Gambling (IGRG), which brings together every sector of the gambling industry through its member trade associations, covering online, amusement arcades, bingo clubs, bookmakers and casinos. The aim of the week, taking place from November 1-7, is to trigger a national conversation about responsible gambling promoting a common message, and after the first five days of Responsible Gambling Week the hashtag #RGweek18 had already garnered 15 million social media impressions.

Among the initiatives taking place during the week are responsible gambling training sessions, run by the charity GamCare, for parents and professionals working with children or young adults.

Mr Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North discussed the issues around gambling with IGRG chairman John Hagan and how operators can do more to promote responsible gambling to customers. He said: “Gambling addiction is a real problem which blights communities and households across the country.

“It is the SNP’s position that for full and robust regulation of gambling more broadly, further powers must be devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

“The Scottish Government has already used the planning system, via the Scottish Planning Policy, to begin to tackle Pay Day Lenders and Betting Shops.

“However with insufficient powers the SNP Government can only go so far in tackling the proliferation of fixed odd betting terminals. FOBTs ruin lives and allow vulnerable addicts to bet up to £100 every 20 seconds.

Mr Newlands, added: “Startling sums of money are lost as a result of these machines, and it is for this reason it is necessary reduce the maximum bet to £2 as soon as possible and save families becoming victims of life destroying debts.

“The government’s delay in implementing their agreed crackdown on gambling machines to October 2019 is baffling and needs to be addressed urgently.”

John Hagan, said: “The gambling industry is under close political scrutiny and I was delighted to be able to discuss this important and very topical issue. The gambling industry understands that no operator can expect to have a sustainable long-term future without putting a commitment to responsible gambling at the heart of its business”.

Photo: Parliamentary drop-in event at the Palace of Westminster in support of Responsible Gambling Week, the biggest cross-industry campaign of its kind
Photo Credit: Sam Pearce