Church Commissioners written answer: Church action on problem gambling

spelman170119eOn 22nd July 2019 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question, from Gregory Campbell MP, regarding problem gambling:

Gregory Campbell (DUP): 278399 To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to tackle problem gambling.

Dame Caroline Spelman: Gambling-related harm impacts the lives of hundreds of thousands of people across the country. Of particular concern is the 55,000 children classified as problem gamblers in Great Britain.

The Church of England and the bishops in the House of Lords have regularly raised this issue with the Government, charities and the industry itself.

The Bishop of St Albans successfully campaigned with others to reduce the stake on fixed-odds betting terminals in Great Britain and tabled an amendment to the Northern Ireland Executive (Formation) Bill 2019 to ask the Government to report on the case for legislative and regulatory alignment between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The Government accepted this amendment.

The Bishop of St Albans also sponsored a motion for debate in the General Synod of the Church of England, which was passed at the February 2019 session. He also successfully balloted for the House of Lords to establish the Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry. The Committee Inquiry is underway and is expected to report between March and April 2020.

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