In this episode of Political agenda.Chris Lomas is talking to Matt Zarb-cousin, a reformed gambling addict whose campaign on the subject is helping to shape a landmark review of changes to UK gambling laws.
At age 16, Matt became addicted to fixed odds betting terminals (FOBT) and took out about £ 20,000 in gambling loans.
Zarb’s cousin admits that gambling addiction “takes your life completely.”
“Your brain is effectively telling you that you need to gamble to survive; you don’t get pleasure from anything else.”
As a recovered gambling addict, Matt is the founder and director of Clean Up Gaming, a campaign group lobbying the government to reform UK gambling laws, and has recently been featured on it. was done. “Paul Merson: Football, Gambling and Me.”
For many cousins, it is important to look at gambling as a potential health risk.
“This is one of the things we want to convey, is that understanding, this framework in the public health framework, and how we should manage it.”
Since the 2005 Gambling Act, the 21st Digital Revolutionst The century has changed the face of gambling. According to Zarb-cousin, the current UK gambling laws are weakly equipped to meet the challenges posed by the gambling industry.
“I think we know a lot about the harms of gambling and what it is now compared to the Gambling Act of 2005. Before we had smartphones and before gambling started on the Internet. Go
“It simply came to our notice then.
The formation of a gambling ombudsman, increased funding for gambling addiction treatment, and changes to advertising laws are some of the changes that Zarb Cousin has supported.
“It simply came to our notice then.” They said.
The sheer volume of gambling advertisements in society is another important factor in the need for multiplication and change.
“I think there is an argument for eliminating all advertising.
“Advertising around football and its effects on children; the evidence is overwhelming.”
According to Zarb Cousin, a fundamental change can only happen if the long-term gambling business model is changed.
“Unfortunately, this is a business model that derives most of its revenue from people who are losing more than they can afford.”
“I am convinced that this could change, and that the cost could be borne by them; but it would make for a much more sustainable industry if they could continue to invest more and more in marketing to acquire new gamblers.” not required.”
The Westminster gambling industry is actively lobbying, with several MPs accused of accepting hospitality gifts from gambling firms and allegedly lobbying on their behalf.
Last month, an all-party parliamentary group on batting and gaming produced a report. criticize Gambling Commission in an effort to reduce addiction.
“There are a few dozen MPs who have received a lot of hospitality gifts from the gambling industry,” says Zarb Cousin, and are “reading their script.” He added that the “overwhelming majority” of MPs supported the government’s proposed reforms.
A review of the long-awaited gambling law is not expected until May. Gambling Minister Chris Phillips told the House of Commons in February that the results of the review would be published “in the near future.”
Zarb Cousin is no stranger to working in political circles. He spent 2016-17 as Jeremy Corbyn’s spokesman when Aslington North MP was the Leader of the Opposition.
“I actually applied for it because it is [the job description] Have I got the news for you?
Experience “takes over your life, whether you like it or not,” says Zarb Cousin.
“Whatever happens, it’s hard not to take it personally and it’s hard not to let it affect you, you know, it affects your mental health and you in different ways.
“I don’t think you’ll ever have a strong relationship with the people you work with in politics.”
“There were mistakes after this election.
“It’s easy to say in the long run, but you know, if we had allowed the agreement that was brought back in May to pass, the government would have fallen if it had passed.”
Two years after Labor’s defeat in the 2019 general election, the party finds itself in a very different position, led by Sir Care Starmer.
“It simply came to our notice then.
“We will kick the left in public and very clearly in the right wing to signal that we are a safe haven for capital.”
For Zarb’s cousin, Corbyn’s ouster is a sign that the party is more divided than ever.
Political opponents inside and outside the party worked on Jeremy after 2017.
“The idea that Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn was ousted by his successor from 2015 to 2019. I mean, it really shows how polarized the Labor Party is.”
Zarb-cousin is looking to the future, and the prospect of significant and meaningful change in UK gambling laws.
When the review of the Gambling Act finally arrives, Zarb Cousin believes the reform package will “surprise many.”
“I am hopeful that given the scope of the review and the extent to which public discourse has reached, and the level of support in Parliament, we will change significantly.”