A Sheffield campaigner has lambasted the government after a report revealed that there are 55,000 UK children who are “problem gamblers”.
The increase shown in the gambling commission report represents a quadrupling of the number of child problem gamblers, branded as a “generational scandal” by Archbishop Right Reverend Alan Smith.
Adam Bradford, who campaigns for stricter rules on online gambling and advertising, said: “Young people’s futures have been gambled away by an industry intent on over-marketing and glamorising gambling to lure them in at a young age.
“There is also a distinct lack of support for them – where would an 11 year old go if they had an addiction like this to get help?”
In 2014, Adam’s father David was outed for his gambling addiction, which inspires his current fight for tighter restrictions on the gambling industry.
David, who is now 61, stole £53,000 from his employers by re-invoicing his wages, as well as re-mortgaging the family home, running up debts on 21 credit cards and taking out payday and bank loans to cover up his financial mess and gambling addiction.
He had been gambling obsessively for over 30 years, getting hooked on online slots machines recently and being bombarded with adverts further enticing him to keep playing.
888.com, a gambling website who were fined by the gambling commission, refused to stop sending premium rate text messages to his phone at home whilst he was in jail.
Websites such as Jackpot Joy also flooded his email inbox with over 8,000 offers to gamble whilst he was behind bars.
Adam’s campaign, which started in 2014, gained the support of former PM David Cameron, the Conservative party and Tom Watson MP.
The campaign aimed to see fixed odds betting terminal stakes slashed, advertising banned on TV, and restrictions on the amounts of money that can be spent on online gambling.
Some aims of the campaign were achieved, with the Conservative party recently making a u-turn on delaying laws to make the maximum fixed odds betting terminal stake £2, aiming to enact legislation in April 2019 as opposed to October 2019.
This follows a resignation by Tracey Crouch MP, due to the government delaying the implementation of a reduction in fixed odds betting terminal stakes.
Adam has spoken to the media on this topic on many occasions.
To combat this issue, Adam said: “We need an urgent crackdown on gambling and education urgently implemented into schools to ensure young people are aware of the risks of gambling and that sometimes playing can lead to serious problems.”