Gam­bling is a Labour is­sue

Sunderland Echo - - Opinion -

Gam­bling is so of­ten the pre­serve of the poor and the des­per­ate. Sadly too many find them­selves in such fi­nan­cial straits in the North East.

It is all too easy to be lured into bet­ting and the growth of on­line gam­bling is mak­ing it even eas­ier, all from the com­fort of your own home or even out and about with a mo­bile phone. Now it emerges that book­mak­ers are ap­par­ently tar­get­ing young­sters by us­ing chil­dren’s cartoon char­ac­ters to pro­mote their on­line ser­vice.

I am glad to see that the ASA is in­ves­ti­gat­ing, par­tic­u­larly as the Gam­bling Com­mis­sion has found that shock­ingly 450,000 chil­dren are gam­bling in Eng­land and Wales ev­ery week. Young­sters are par­tic­u­larly sus­cep­ti­ble as play­ing on­line games is part of their cul­ture. The Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion has re­vealed that one in ten chil­dren aged be­tween 11 - 15 are “fol­low­ing” gam­bling firms on so­cial me­dia.

It is ironic that it was a Labour gov­ern­ment that liberalised the gam­ing in­dus­try al­low­ing its evils to pro­lif­er­ate and it is those in its tra­di­tional heart­lands, such as this re­gion, who are pay­ing a par­tic­u­larly high price. Jonathan Arnott, UKIP North East MEP

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