Gambling – A National Health Issue


The Labour Party Annual Conference 2023

SME4Labour and Gambling with Lives fringe: Gambling – A National Health Issue

🗓 Date: Monday, 9 October 2023

⏳ Time: 17:00

📍Location: SME4Labour POD (Meeting Room 22), ACC Liverpool, Kings Dock Street, Liverpool, England, L3 4FP

SME4Labour, and experts from the NHS, public health, lived experience, and politics fringed: Gambling – A National Health Issue. Labour’s approach to gambling, how this might develop when the party takes power, and what the role of the Department of Health and Social Care should be with Liz Ritchie MBE, Founder of Gambling with Lives; Greg Fell, Vice President – Association of Directors of Public Health; Dr Matt Gaskell, Head of the NHS Northern Gambling Service and Paul Blomfield, Labour MP, Sheffield Central & Health Select Committee member. This panel discussion was chaired by Clive Tyldesley, Football Commentator.

Clive Tyldesley initiated the panel by questioning to understand the harm that gambling can cause or recognize it as a mental health issue in order to make a very strong case to the government for more regulation in response to that issue this is a matter of the Department of Health and Social Care.

The discussion delved into the question of whether gambling addiction is a health issue or simply a bad habit. Dr. Matt Gaskel pointed out the growing concerns related to the modern commercial gambling industry and the ineffectiveness of existing laws and regulations. He highlighted how the industry deliberately exploits natural reward pathways and vulnerabilities, creating a perfect storm of advertising and promotion in national sports and daytime media, targeting a diverse audience.

Paul Blomfield MP discussed the future Labour government’s approach to the gambling white paper. He emphasized the critical juncture in shaping this paper and the need to address the existing framework, which was established by the Labour government in 2005. While recognizing the positive aspects of the white paper, particularly the statutory Levy, he stressed the importance of setting it at a level that supports proper treatment and public health messaging, while maintaining independence from the industry. The focus was on addressing the issues within the current gambling framework and ensuring that opposition efforts shape the debate and pave the way for meaningful change.

Gambling – A National Health Issue