Grooming our children to be gamblers

Television viewers, including children, are exposed to intensive gambling advertising

The many rules and codes in place are being reviewed this summer to ensure that they’re up to the task of protecting our young and vulnerable. However, with advertising revenues so critical to the commercial media and UK sport, this important debate must be based on the facts.

Tim Lefroy
Advertising Association

Sir, At last, an articulate response
to the betting industry’s bombardment of the vulnerable (“Stop bombarding our kids with betting ads”, July 29).

Rachel Sylvester argues that “gambling is an addiction as dangerous as smoking, drinking or drugs”, but when talking to two housemasters at one of the country’s most prominent schools, I was told that they now consider gambling to be the greatest threat to the well-being of their students.


MA Getgood
Liphook, Hants

Sir, Rachel Sylvester is quite right to raise concerns about the barrage of betting ads that accompany any televised sporting event.

Of equal concern is the prevalence of fixed odds betting terminals in betting shops which, while unnoticed by most people, can be ruinous for a growing number.

The terminals are touch screen casino-type machines on which gamblers can bet with cash or via a debit card up to a surprising £100 per spin.

Such machines are often referred to as the “crack cocaine of gambling”.

A sensible way of tackling this menace would be to lower the maximum stake from £100 to £2 per spin, so falling in line with all other high-street gaming machines in the UK.

Clarence Barrett
Upminster, Essex

Sir, I was shocked to discover recently how my boys had fully exploited the free bets that the online gaming companies are offering, hoping to entrap them into a gambling habit. As a parent I thought our children were safe from betting, as they had recognised that high-street betting shops were sad places, with equally sad people inside.

However, I was hugely encouraged to hear that although my oldest son had been in one, he was smart enough to quickly realise that, as he put it, “gambling is for losers.”

“What made you conclude that?” I asked him.

“Well Dad, the maths didn’t add up: there were five windows for paying in, and only one for paying out”.

David Savile
Redlynch, Wilts