While Lord Chadlington warns of a “gambling epidemic”, Sam Spencer argues there is more chance of an anti-gambling epidemic with the delayed Triennial Review implementation increasing public and political attention on the industry.
Although Lord Chadlington had more influence on policy 8 years ago when his friends David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt served as Prime Minister and Culture Secretary respectively, his editorial – analysed by Coinslot – exemplifies the tide of anti-gambling sentiment that has been rising since the Triennial Review began more than two years ago. Problem gambling rates have remained stable since then, but public and political opinion has deteriorated,with negative stories such as ‘backroom deals’ between the bookies and the Treasury shining a terrible light on the industry.
Lord Chadlington – a man well-versed in both PR and politics – has chosen the opportune time to strike.His editorial starts slow and steady, but crescendos into tabloid sensationalism. The government must follow his plan to“avoid a gambling epidemic in the UK”, he says.
However, there is no evidence of a “gambling epidemic” in the UK. On the contrary, there appears the potential for an anti-gambling epidemic, with the delayed FOBT implementation and a World Cup full of gambling ads both giving cause for complaint from commentators like Lord Chadlington (and Labour Party Deputy Leader Tom Watson,who also enquired about a statutory levy at last week’s PMQs). While the World Cup complaint will eventually fade from memory, the anti-gambling sentiment will continue to spread until the Triennial Review decision has been implemented. In the meantime, the entire industry remains an easy target – and who knows who the next critic will be, or where they will aim?