As the number of problem gamblers in Britain continues to grow we need to start asking ourselves as a culture if we feel we are on the right road; is more gambling a good thing?
Gambling means that a few win and many lose. I worry about gambling and how it is built around undeserved rewards for reckless behaviour, which seems strikingly similar to what happened in the banking system prior to the credit crunch. We need more responsibility in our relationship with money, and this includes how we spend it in leisure time.
The Government has a duty to protect vulnerable people from being exploited or harmed by gambling. An increase in problem gambling suggests that their current methods of protection are a busted flush. With many people’s financial problems increasing the Government must do all it can to curb further proliferation of gambling opportunities. In particular, I'm deeply troubled by the level of problem gambling associated with gaming machines. This form of gambling is solitary and repetitive. These high value machines in betting shops turn every high street into a casino.
More information about gambling in Britain today is available in this excellent paper produced by the Methodist Church and the Salvation Army.