Michael Forsyth, Baron Forsyth of Drumlean and former Member of Parliament for Stirling, calls for the ban of free bets
Former UK government minister Micheal Forsyth argues that free bets shouldn’t be offered by gambling companies given the possibilities of harmful gambling behaviors. He pleads to outlaw free bets from gaming firms as they ‘stimulate demand’ with free bet promotions and other incentives.
As a Home Officer minster, Lord Forsyth of Drumlean was responsible for gambling related issues. Reflecting on the harm of free bets throughout his time in office, he said:
When I was in charge of gambling in the Home Office some 25 years ago, the rule was that operators were not allowed to stimulate demand.
Lord Forsyth of Drumlean continued:
They were prevented from advertising or doing anything which encouraged people to gamble. Now people are being bombarded on television and the internet with offers of free bets.
In effect, the UK has a notorious gambling problem amongst its population, research conducted by GambleAware found that only 3% of problem gamblers in the UK receive adequate treatment.
Problem gambling and gambling addiction has been at the forefront in recent news as a consequence of COVID-19.
The Conservative peer expressed his disagreement with the notion of free bets by arguing:
Is it any wonder that with people in lockdown and many of them subject to financial strictures that we have a problem with gambling that is increasing?
Cultural minister Baroness Barran clarified earlier that publication of Public Health England’s review on the dangers of gambling has been ‘delayed by Covid’ and is now expected to be released at the beginning of the year.
In other news, England has just entered into their third and toughest lockdown since March 2020 following surges in positive cases placing immense pressure on the National Heath Service (NHS). This has forced all gambling venues to shut down, potentially causing gamblers to look for alternatives in the wrong places.
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