BMA says to Government, “do more and do it quickly” to reduce harm from gambling

BMA press release. 

Published: Thursday 27 April 2023
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Responding to the publication today of the Government’s long-delayed white paper1 on gambling reform, the BMA says that while it is a step in the right direction, there is a need for action now and many of the recommendations need to be far tougher than currently suggested.

The BMA has long campaigned for significant reforms to the gambling industry and the chair of the Association’s public health medicine committee, Dr Penelope Toff said:

 “Gambling is a serious public health issue, which causes huge harm to the health and wellbeing of individuals, families, and communities. We urgently need a prevention approach that minimises the risk to people, especially the most vulnerable. This requires robust regulation of the entire gambling industry, including strong advertising restrictions across all media outlets, particularly to limit the exposure of children to gambling.”

BMA board of science chair, Professor David Strain added: “This white paper is an important first step in recognising and addressing the inadequate regulation of the industry, but it needs to be accompanied by urgent action.

 “While the introduction of a statutory levy is better than the current arrangements, this alone is unlikely to modify the behaviour of the industry and should not be seen as a long-term solution to reducing or preventing gambling harms. We need more detail on the implementation and distribution of the levy, with complete transparency over how the funds are being spent, to ensure this is truly independent. 

 “The BMA is concerned that these proposals are all accompanied by consultation periods, which risks delaying much-needed urgent intervention, meaning more people will inevitably and sadly come to harm while we wait for definitive action.”

Notes to editors

The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives. 

Further information

  1. Government white paper on reform of gambling regulation.

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