The promise to ban football shirt sponsorship is a good start to tackling this crisis, but cross-party action to mitigate the suffering of addiction is urgently needed
When Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson was challenged on Newsnight last week about his party’s role in liberalising gambling, he signalled a long-awaited shift in Labour’s philosophical approach to how it should be regulated, away from the “growth” orientated framework introduced by Tony Blair that has led to 430,000 problem gamblers in Britain, with more than 2 million people in the UK either problem gamblers or at risk of addiction.
On the day those figures were revealed, Watson told Emily Maitlis: “There needs to be massive reform, we’ve got a gambling industry that spends many millions of pounds lobbying ministers, journalists, civil servants, on the message that they believe in responsible gambling, and what we’ve seen today is irresponsible gambling. We are not going run away from this, we are going to be demanding that the government take this hidden crisis seriously.”
The industry must be forced to rethink its business model, a model that has been feeding off addiction for too long