15 November 2018

Government Minister Resigns over Delay in Help for Gambling Addicts

The Parliamentary Under Secretary for Sport and Civil Society, Tracey Crouch MP, has resigned her ministerial post following the Government’s delay in reducing the stakes of fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs).In May 2018, the Government announced they intended to reduce the maximum stake on a single FOBT bet from £100 to £2. This help for gambling addicts was prioritised following an inquiry into FOBTs by an All-Party Parliamentary Group. In the Budget statement on 29th October 2018, however, this decision was not implemented.

FOBTs have the highest rates of addiction when compared to all other forms of gambling. According to Tracey Crouch, “some 176,000 people who play FOBTs are problem gamblers, which is currently the highest rate of gambling activity by-product.” [1]

How Will Gambling Addicts Be Affected by This Delay?

In her resignation letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, Tracey Crouch said: “Your personal support earlier this year for a reduction in the stake of fixed odds betting terminals was incredibly welcome and a real reflection of your ambitions set out in your very first speech on the steps of Downing Street to support vulnerable people against the power of big business.

“I cannot begin to explain how many people got in touch to congratulate Government on its stance, including addicts, their families and also, sadly, those who have been left behind after loved ones took their own lives as a consequence of addiction.

“Unfortunately, implementation of these changes are now being delayed until October 2019 due to commitments made by others to those with registered interests.”

Tracey Crouch went on to say that £1.6 billion will be lost on fixed odds betting terminals, from the time of the announcement to reduce the stakes and its implementation.

She also highlighted the rate of suicide in connection with gambling addiction: “Two people will tragically take their lives every day due to gambling-related problems and for that reason as much as any other I believe this delay is unjustifiable.”

Help for Gambling Addicts – Abstinence-Based Treatment

At UKAT, our treatment philosophy for gambling addiction is abstinence-based. To achieve a sustainable recovery, we believe that the best help starts with a cessation. This allows people to engage in a meaningful treatment process which identifies and addresses the root causes of gambling addiction.

Depending on individual circumstances, residential treatment or outpatient counselling may be the most appropriate course of action. UKAT carry out a thorough assessment to identify the best approach – including where there are co-existing addictions to treat.

Please contact UKAT to discuss help for gambling addicts. Your enquiry is confidential.

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