Welsh Gambling Charities Taking a ‘Pea Shooter to a Nuclear Weapon’

Law & Politics
Alan Evans

Updated by Alan Evans

News Writer

Last Updated 20th Jun 2024, 09:16 AM

Welsh Gambling Charities Taking a ‘Pea Shooter to a Nuclear Weapon’

The Senedd building in Cardiff Bay where future plans for dealing with gambling harms were recently debated. (Image: Mark Salter / Alamy)

Questions on future plans for dealing with gambling harms in Wales have been discussed at yesterday’s Plenary session at the Senedd.  

Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds asked the first question to the First Minister Vaughan Gething today, Tuesday, June 18th.  

The Welsh Lib Dem leader asked: “What support does the Welsh Government provide to services working to mitigate gambling-related harms?“  

The First Minister responded by saying that the Welsh Government work with a variety of partners to support those affected by gambling-related harm, including organisations that provide help, support and advocacy services.  

He said: “Our officials are currently assessing how we could develop specialist NHS treatment provision here in Wales. 

Jane Dodds thanked the First Minister for his response and continued to press him on issues around gambling. She said that the scourge of gambling addiction remains a grave public health issue which ravages the lives of families and individuals across Wales.  

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63% of Welsh Adults Gambled in 2021 

The Welsh Lib Dem leader referred to a 2022 national survey, which found that 63 per cent of Welsh adults had gambled in the prior year—a significant spike from 52 per cent in 2018.  

Jane Dodds said: “As you'll know, a particular area of interest of mine is around greyhound racing, and we know that the greyhound racing track, Valley, is intended to quadruple the number of greyhounds it races in order to ensure that they race at night, and that that goes online, to ensure that people gamble more. As they proliferate, more people face increased exploitation and exposure to gambling's insidious dangers daily.” 

Wales Currently Has no NHS Clinics to Provide Support for Gambling Related Harm 

Ms Dodds told the First Minister that she had been contacted by Gambling support organisations who conveyed to her that vast resources of the gambling industry on one hand render them outnumbered compared to what they're able to do.  

Dodds said: “In fact, they use this phrase: 'It's like taking a pea shooter to a nuclear weapon'.  

The Welsh Lib Dem leader asked what the First Minister’s new Labour government and a new Westminster Labour government would do to commit to vigorously lobbying for a substantial increase in funding for gambling-support services across Wales. 

Welsh Government Consider Levy to Fund NHS Clinics

The First Minister said that he shared her concerns about gambling, and especially problem gambling.  

He said: “We know that there are, on our own understanding, around 18,000 people in Wales who are assessed as being problem gamblers, with all of the significant consequences that come for them, their families and communities around them. I'm pleased that, within the UK Labour manifesto, there is a commitment to pursue gambling reform. It's a particular area were increasing the regulatory environments to provide greater protection from harm is important."

The First Minister said that the UK general election has meant that work that was ongoing between the Welsh Government, the Scottish Government and the UK Government has been paused. One of the issues that had been discussed was the potential for a levy. 

He concluded by saying: “I'll look for that to continue after the election. because I recognise the point the Member made around people having to deal with the harms that come from problem gambling who don't feel they're properly equipped, and the voluntary efforts made thus far have not matched the need that comes from problem gambling.” 

Meet The Author

Alan Evans
Alan Evans
News Writer News Writer

Most of my career was spent in teaching including at one of the UK’s top private schools. I left London in 2000 and set up home in Wales raising four beautiful children. I enrolled at University where I studied Photography and film and gained a Degree and subsequently a Masters Degree. In 2014 I helped launch a new local newspaper and managed to get front and back page as well as 6 filler pages on a weekly basis. I saw that journalism was changing and was a pioneer of hyperlocal news in Wales. In 2017 I started one of the first 24/7 free independent news sites for Wales. Having taken that to a successful business model I was keen for a new challenge. Joining the company is exciting for me especially as it is a new role in Europe. I am keen to establish myself and help others to do the same.

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