LETTER OF THE DAY

It is time that the problems relating to gambling are acknowledged, in much the same way that attention had been given to the issues surrounding smoking and alcohol consumption.

In the UK it has been some years since restrictions were placed on the advertising of alcohol or tobacco products.

When it comes to gambling though, different rules seem to apply, particularly in relation to the promotion of online gambling sites.

Whilst local authorities can exert some influence when it comes to approving applications for gambling premises licences, our government appears to turn a blind eye to the huge increase in the promotion of online gambling sites through popular TV channels.

Increasingly, these sites for bingo games and online casino activity, endorsed and promoted by household names, are shown late at night on channels likely to be viewed by the more vulnerable in society – lonely, isolated and struggling financially.

Whilst those operating the premises that are in our high streets are required to demonstrate that they have appropriate measures in place to protect the punters, there appears to be no such constraints for online sites.

It must surely be time for the Advertising Standards Authority to flex its muscles when it comes to the current trend for the advertising and promotion of online gambling.

I have been affected personally of uncontrolled gambling. My brother, who I was very close to, took his own life nine years ago.

It was only after his death that I became aware of the extent to which he had succumbed to the temptation of online gambling.

Even after his death, the offers of more credit still kept coming, to the tune of £60,000. The effect on his family was devastating and long lasting.

Like many people, I like a flutter every now and again, but I know that uncontrolled gambling can destroy the lives of all of those involved.

In addition to debt, it can be the mental toll it takes on gamblers that has a wider impact, often leading to alcoholism and mental health breakdown.

How can any of us continue to condone this? End the promotion of online gambling sites now.

Linda Piggott-Vijeh

Combe St Nicholas

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