Anger at moves to water down gambling reforms: Plans for ban on football shirt ads set for U-turn


A crackdown on betting giants is to be diluted by ministers – to the fury of anti-gambling campaigners.

Plans to be published next month had been expected to introduce a ‘polluter pays’ levy on gambling firms to fund research into addiction.

They were also expected to propose a ban on the names of gambling sponsors appearing on the front of Premier League football shirts.

But officials at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) are said to have retreated from both proposals following opposition from the industry. The Daily Mail has long campaigned for action to curb the scourge of gambling addiction which ruins lives and costs the economy millions of pounds.

Officials are set to U-turn on plans to ban Premier League clubs featuring betting firms as shirt sponsors. The move is likely to affect Paddy Power, the UK’s biggest gambling company

Its Stop The Gambling Predators campaign calls for tighter reform of the betting industry and tougher regulation.

Liz Ritchie, whose son Jack, a 24-year-old teacher with a gambling addiction, killed himself, said: ‘If these reports are true, families bereaved by gambling-related suicide will be up in arms – this is not what we have been promised.’

The co-chairman of campaigning charity Gambling With Lives added: ‘At least one person dies as a result of gambling per day, so to protect the public from a voracious parasitic industry we need a ban on sponsorship of football including all advertising in grounds and a statutory levy for independent public health messaging and NHS treatment.’

Last night, Conservative MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith, who is a member of the all-party parliamentary group for gambling-related harm, said: ‘I will go to war with the Government on this. I will find ways to rebel. The evidence is clear about the damage problem gambling can cause. I will not compromise on the levy.’

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No 10 was likely to water down the proposals amid fears of further taxes being imposed on the industry, The Sunday Times reported. Last week, the Betting and Gaming Council warned a flat-rate levy on betting firms would tip about a third of Britain’s casinos into loss and threaten nearly 3,000 jobs.

Instead of a ban, ministers hope to reach agreement with Premier League clubs in the next fortnight to remove gambling companies’ names from their shirts. Nearly half the clubs, such as West Ham and Newcastle, are sponsored by gambling companies.

A Public Health England (PHE) study in September found an estimated 409 suicides are linked to gambling in England every year.

The UK is one of the world’s biggest gambling markets, with profits of £14.2billion in 2020. PHE estimated problem gambling caused an economic burden of £1.27billion a year. The DCMS received more than 16,000 responses to its call for evidence for its review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

Plans for affordability checks –similar to credit checks on mortgage applicants – are expected to be introduced in a white paper.

Maximum stakes of £2 to £5 for online slot machines are also expected and the creation of a new ombudsman to better regulate the industry has also been mooted.

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A DCMS spokesman said: ‘We are determined to protect those most at risk of gambling-related harm while giving adults the freedom to choose how to gamble safely. We are undertaking the most comprehensive review of gambling laws in 17 years to ensure they are fit for the digital age.’

‘Bookie let my son lose £12,500 in days’: Mother’s heartache over NHS worker who stepped in front of train after losing a fortune in days… as crackdown on betting giants is set to be diluted

By Daily Mail Reporter

An NHS worker stepped in front of a high-speed train during lockdown after Britain’s biggest bookmaker allowed him to lose £12,500 in a matter of days.

Josh Hall, 28, lost about half of his annual salary to Paddy Power in the week before he died as his addiction grew ‘completely out of control’.

Shortly after 9pm on May 17, 2020, the ‘kind and caring’ HR assistant stepped in front of a train travelling at 115mph, killing himself instantly.

Sheffield NHS worker Josh Hall, 28, took his own life after gambling £12,500 in a matter of days

Sheffield NHS worker Josh Hall, 28, took his own life after gambling £12,500 in a matter of days

In a statement read at his inquest, his distraught mother Shelley Hall said: ‘My world ended that awful day…

‘I asked the gambling company why they let him gamble thousands of pounds in 24 hours, days before he died… We will always be disgusted with the gambling company.’

Mr Hall’s losses triggered an alarm in Paddy Power’s automated system, but no one from its ‘responsible gambling’ team phoned him. Instead, he was sent an automated email asking him to confirm he was happy with his losses, the inquest held on May 12 heard.

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Investigators found that he had been offered a loan of £51,000 to consolidate his gambling debts and other high-interest payday loan offers.

Hall, pictured with half-sisters Jade (left) and Mackenzie (centre), set off a Paddy Power alarm

Hall, pictured with half-sisters Jade (left) and Mackenzie (centre), set off a Paddy Power alarm

Senior coroner Nicola Mundy ruled that Mr Hall, who lived in Sheffield, died as a result of suicide. She said: ‘He could see no way out. The motivating factor quite clearly was the gambling addiction and how that spiralled out of control.’

About £12,500 of Mr Hall’s losses were with Paddy Power and the remainder were with other bookmakers.

Flutter Entertainment, which owns Paddy Power, said it had made ‘significant changes’ in player protection since May 2020. It added: ‘We send our sincere condolences and deepest sympathy to Mr Hall’s family.

‘We want every customer to have a safe experience when betting with us and any incident of gambling-related harm leads us to review our player protection processes.’

For support, call the Samaritans for free on 116 123 or Gambling with Lives on 07864 299 158.



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