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RSPH Backs Labour Gambling Plan

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A major public health group has backed the plans by the UK Labour Party to introduce a tough new regulatory code for the online gambling sector.

The Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) has released a statement supporting proposals outlined by the Labour Party Deputy leader Tom Watson last week. The Society said that it shares Watson’s concern gambling among children aged 11-16. A report by the UK Gambling Commission last year found that 400,000 children in that age category spend money on gambling each week.

The RSPH say that they support a number of specific measures to increase the regulation of the online sector, including the introduction of a more stringent system of checks before new customers are permitted to deposit funds or before existing players are allowed to increase the size of their deposits. The Society also backs the limiting of stakes on games and gambling products that have been proven to have a link with increased rates of problem gambling, and the Labour Party’s main proposal to regulate online betting as strictly as retail and casino gambling.

The backing of the RSPH is significant as later this year, the Society will be launching the Gambling Health Alliance, in conjunction with the gambling industry charity Gamble Aware. One of the Alliance’s main goals will be to promote the idea of problem gambling being treated as a public health concern.

Speaking about the Labour party proposals, the Senior Campaigns and Communications Executive of the RSPH, Niamh McDade, said that it was time to bring internet gambling in-line with the rules that govern the traditional land-based industry:

It is vital that regulations in the online world catch up with restrictions being introduced offline and we welcome the call to limit stakes in all online gambling.”

As well as campaigning for a public health approach to problem gambling, the Gambling Health Alliance will aim to bring together policymakers, industry figures and health organisations, and to push for more research into the causes of problem gambling.

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