Local campaigner not impressed by gambling ads ban

A campaigner fighting to change the gambling addiction laws in the North says there’s still plenty to do despite two betting adverts from major firms being banned by authorities last week.
After his son Lewis died by suicide in November 2013 because of a serious gambling addiction, Pete Keogh and his wife Sadie established the Gambling With Lives charity which has been campaigning for a change in the archaic gambling addition laws in Northern Ireland.
Last week the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned two ads by bookmakers Coral and mobile casino game, Wolf Gold, for promoting gambling on horse racing and for suggesting that gambling was a way to solve financial concerns.
ASA described the ads as “socially irresponsible” and “disproportionately affecting a vulnerable group”, but Mr Keogh believed there was much more work to be done if the issue is to be addressed properly.
“There’s still no [gambling] legislation through from Westminster or Stormont yet,” he said. “Westminster in particular has been dragging their heals.
“Until people realise this is a serious public health issue nothing is going to change. What’s needed is more [gambling] levy and if you make laws to put something in place that enforces them.
“The gambling companies don’t want to know about gambling addiction and that’s why a levy is needed.
These two bans are welcome but they are only paying lip service to what really needs to be done.”
The Coral TV ad showed stylised footage of a tightly contested horse race on a misty day, including close-up shots of spectators engrossed by the events on the track and dramatic music.
A voiceover stated: “Exciting, isn’t it? When your horse wins by a nose. But if that’s exciting, how about three furlongs ago? Look, look, any horse could win. How about now when your horse is under starter’s orders?
How long have you waited for those gates to crash open? But that’s nothing. What about earlier still? Your horse is the only horse that matters. Coral. Get closer to the action.”
The ad, called Wolf Gold in the Lucky Night app, stated: “Everyone wants to solve theirs (sic) financial problems … Click the ‘Download’ button right now and start to earn … In fact, it’s all very easy to do with our application … pay off loans, buy a car and a nice house … and make a lot of money!”
The text beneath this stated: “WELCOME BONUS £400”.

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