Gambling legislation  – Sir Mike Penning MP

I am delighted that the Government has recently announced an end to being able to gamble using a credit card. This will apply to all types of gambling and is something I have long campaigned for.

Back in 2018 I tabled a motion in the House of Commons for a total ban on the use of credit cards for all forms of gambling, but online gambling in particular. It is great to see this actually come to fruition.

It has always seemed completely irresponsible that people have been able to gamble with money they do not have.

I am not a killjoy, I enjoy an occasional flutter on the Grand National as much as anyone else, but gambling addiction is a serious matter and devastates the lives of those affected and their families.

I have had constituents contact me who are their wits end and facing substantial losses and even financial ruin. It is very distressing and frightening for those involved.

Whilst this ban is welcome, I would like to see the Government go further. I am very concerned about excessive advertising on TV during sport, the advertising of ‘free bets’ and the accessibility of ATM machines in casinos.

Free bets are offered by gambling companies as enticements, but to access the free bet you have to enter your personal information and deposit cash or enter bank details. I would like to see a ban on ‘free bets’.

Gambling addiction is a very real problem and we must do more to protect people addicted to gambling. We cannot simply allow them to be continually bombarded with repetitive pop-up offers of ‘free bets’.

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