On 24th June 2019 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received written answers from Government, in reply to five questions about problem gambling and gaming machines in the armed forces and on the armed forces estates:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: (i) HL16430 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of gambling-related harm amongst (1) veterans, and (2) those currently serving in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces; and whether the Ministry of Defence has conducted any research into gambling participation rates in those groups.
(ii) HL16429 to ask Her Majesty’s Government how many (1) Fixed-Odd Betting Terminals and (2) Electronic Gaming Machines, are located on Ministry of Defence property in (1) 2015, (2) 2016, (3) 2017, and (4) 2018; and who was the beneficiary of any such money.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what provision is available to problem gamblers who are currently serving in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made, if any, of the number of problem gamblers who are currently serving in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.
Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about gambling-related harm amongst veterans and armed forces”
On the 1st November 2018 the Rt Revd Christopher Foster, Bishop of Portsmouth, responded to a Government statement about Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals:
The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, may I briefly make two points? The Minister has indicated that he is aware of the strong feelings in this House. He and other members of Her Majesty’s Government must have been aware, particularly on Tuesday when this matter arose at Question Time, that that concern comes from all sides of this House. He may not be aware that after playing a part on Monday, as I sat in the Commons Gallery for the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget Statement, I used the word “disappointed” about the Chancellor’s decision to delay implementing this change. The Minister may not be aware that the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury has subsequently gone further and described it as appalling.
Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth responds to Government statement about Fixed Odds Betting Terminals”
On 30th of October Lord Griffiths of Burry Port asked the Government whether they will introduce legislation to reduce the maximum bet for fixed-odds betting machines to £2; and if so, when. The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: Many of us who have been speaking and campaigning on this issue were appalled yesterday to hear about the further time that it will take to implement this. These machines are predominantly found in the poorest areas. The research is quite clear: they cause huge poverty. On top of that, it is estimated that every day between one and two people commit suicide for gambling-related reasons. That is not only a huge social cost; it is a massive financial cost, far more than the £400 million relevant tax revenue that Her Majesty’s Government receive each year. Surely it is time to do this for the sake of everyone in our country. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans criticises appalling delay in bringing in stake reduction on betting machines”
On 30th October 2018 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer from Government about suicides linked to problem gambling or gambling addiction:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the number of suicides that were linked to gambling addiction or problem gambling from 2010 till 2018. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about link between suicides and gambling addiction”
The following letter appeared in the Financial Times on 24th October 2018:
We refer to your report “ Hammond plan to lift offshore gaming tax deals tough hand for casino groups” (October 22) and write to you as members of the House of Lords from the Christian Churches and other established religious traditions, to urge the government to implement the reduction of the £100 stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) without delay. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans letter in Financial Times – Reduce £100 betting machine stake without further delay”
The following article by the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, was published in the Daily Telegraph.
Britain is facing a ‘generational time bomb’ of children conditioned to think that gambling is normal
17 AUGUST 2018 • 9:30 PM
Ask any parent or teacher and they will tell you children play a lot of online games, including Fortnite which has taken the world by storm. What they might not know is that these games allow children to gamble quite openly – just without money.
This is all legal because of a loophole. And at the same time, whether on tablets or phones, children are bombarded with ads which make gambling sound like harmless fun.
The combined effect of these two factors is that, like Pavlov’s Dogs, a generation of children are being conditioned to gamble. Continue reading “Britain is facing a ‘generational time bomb’ of children conditioned to think that gambling is normal, says Bishop of St Albans”
On 25th July 2018 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to a question on meetings held by civil servants and ministers with stakeholders on fixed-odds betting terminals:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what meetings civil servants and ministers had with stakeholders between 1 January and 11 July about the reduction in stakes on fixed-odds betting terminals from £100 to £2; and what were the (1) dates, (2) locations, and (3) attendees, of each of those meetings. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about meetings with stakeholders on betting machines”