SBC News SGWeek mocked as a 'cringe campaign' by Gambling with Lives

SGWeek mocked as a ‘cringe campaign’ by Gambling with Lives

Safer Gambling Week (#SGWeek2022) has been branded a ‘yearly deception’ which takes place every October by Gambling with Lives (GWL).

The charity and reform group representing families bereaved by gambling-related suicide has called on MPs to ignore the industry-funded campaign that deflects from the real causes of gambling harms.

Writing an op-ed on Commons news source PoliticsHome, GWL Strategy Director Will Prochaska scolded SGWeek as a ‘cringe campaign dreamt up by industry executives aware of the damage of their products that require long and undiluted reforms.

The article stated, “imagine gambling industry execs’ exchanges when dreaming up Safer Gambling Week.”

“They know they must do something, as more than 1.4 million people are addicted to their products in the UK, and every day at least one of those dies by suicide, a reputational nightmare.”

SGWeek is accused of hiding the destructive real-life consequences of gambling-harms in operators’ interest: “addiction, destruction of families, break up of communities, and death make us look bad, right?”

“But it’s not our products that are bad; it’s the people who use them too much.”

The campaign’s focus of raising awareness of safer gambling options and tools available to customers is recognised as a deception to avoid scrutiny of online slots and casino games “which are designed to be addictive and aggressively promoted as safe”.

Gambling leadership is lambasted for cynically placing the blame on “problem gamblers”, taking the same approach as the “Sackler family pronounced on the opioid epidemic they caused; they believe the addicts are the problem, not the industry peddling addictive products”.

Aware that the British public demands wholesale changes, a desperate industry now uses Big Tobacco tactics to prevent any effective regulation of products and continue its circus.

UK gambling’s current status is a “weight on the economy and a barrier to growth”. The article cites studies by “NERA and the Social Market Foundation show that by making gambling legislation fit for the digital age the government would not only boost growth and jobs but would positively impact the cost-of-living crisis and overall tax revenues.”

GLW underscored the “gargantuan cost of gambling harm to the public purse,” as reported by Public Health England (PHE) ‘Evidence Review’, which estimated a societal cost of £1.3 billion each year – a report questioned by the industry.

Industry lobbyists are “smirking in the belief that the Truss administration will throw out the Conservative manifesto commitment to update gambling laws on the basis it would be “anti-growth”.

Politics aside, GLW stated that the British public should be spared from “the embarrassing and dangerous industry charade that is Safer Gambling Week” – especially as its participants have notched up a month of record fines by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).

Prochaska concluded: “This year the industry may feel it has aired its dirty laundry just in time with Entain, Betway and Betfred having racked up over £20m in fines from the Gambling Commission since September, but there will be more.”

“Let’s wait and see what shameful acts this year’s embarrassment holds in store, and who will misguidedly pin their colours to the Safer Gambling Week mast.”

“Be warned – history will judge the whole nefarious affair unkindly.”




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