A majority of British people feel the gambling industry is not doing enough to help care for problem gamblers, new research commissioned by the Christian social policy charity CARE has revealed.
CARE (Christian Action Research and Education) has published research by the polling company ComRes showing that 66 per cent of men (and 61 per cent of men and women) are unhappy with the current arrangement in which the government encourages the gambling industry to make voluntary contributions to help care for problem gamblers.
Some 66 per cent of men told the ComRes poll that the level of contribution should be increased and that it should be made compulsory. The total value of such contributions last year was just £8 million – 0.06 per cent of Gross Gambling Yield.
Meanwhile, 63 per cent of people polled stated that gambling is now a significant issue in Britain today, while only 15 per cent believe it not to be a significant issue.
The poll also revealed that 14.5 million people – almost 10 per cent of the population – know someone personally with a gambling problem.
This week, the government's latest consultation on gambling closed, with mounting pressure from charities and MPs for action to be taken by the government to address problem gambling.
CARE submitted the polling data as part of its consultation response, calling on the government to take note that a clear majority of the public support proposals for the gambling industry to be required to pay more money to support problem gamblers.
CARE's chief executive, Nola Leach, said: 'It's abundantly clear that the damaging effects of problem gambling have become visible across society, with the majority of people across Britain today recognising the harm it causes and a significant proportion knowing someone directly affected. This is a real issue of public concern.
'The government has a real opportunity now to introduce better and more robust protections and to care for those whose lives have been negatively impacted by gambling. This poll shows that majority of the public would support such action.
'The Government of course already has the power to demand that the gambling industry pays significantly more to help those affected by problem gambling – just using the regulation making powers given ministers by Section 123 of the Gambling Act 2005.
'It is astounding that no minister has used this power in thirteen years despite the rise of problem gambling and the devastating impact its having in our communities. Action is long overdue.'
ComRes interviewed 2,036 British adults online between 19th and 21st January 2018.