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HuntjeremyincommonsExtracts from the response by Shadow Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt to yesterday’s statement on the future of gambling in the UK:

Dealing with problem gambling: "I want to welcome certain elements of this statement, particularly the commitment to increased resources going to the Responsibility in Gambling Trust, run with great tenacity by my hon. friend the member for Ryedale.  Is he aware, however, that nearly three quarters of the funds raised by the Trust are used for treatment, which whilst being extremely important, does not address the policy changes necessary to prevent people becoming gambling addicts in the first place?  The Government’s own problem gambling prevalence study identified internet gambling as one of the fastest growing areas of problem gambling, yet he did not mention it.  Is he aware that approaching one in 10 adults who gamble online have an addiction?  So why did the Prime Minister, in has last budget as Chancellor, introduce a new 15% tax for online gambling operators, meaning that not a single one has re-registered in the UK where children and other vulnerable groups are protected by much safer and stronger regulations?  Does the Secretary of State now think it was wrong to liberalise gambling advertising in September in a way that makes it easier for overseas gambling operators not subject to those regulations to promote their online products in the UK?  More fundamentally, given that even now there appears to be no consistent strategy to deal with problem gambling, is there not a danger the Government’s efforts to appear tough on the issue will be perceived as more PR than reality?"

Zig-zagging policy on casinos: "With respect to casinos, the policy appears even more confused.  First there was no limit on the number of supercasinos; then 96; then 40; then 8; then 1. Today it’s none.  No supercasino. But 16 larger casinos instead.  Not so much a U turn as an S bend."

Related link: Brown’s U-turn on supercasinos masks damaging gambling liberalisation by Jeremy Hunt

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