Vilifying gambling is culturally unhelpful

Mark Littlewood appears on BBC R4's Moral Maze

Following proposals for increased gambling regulation, Mark Littlewood stated his opposition to the idea explaining why he gambles and why the activity should be liberalised.

"I derive enormous pleasure from it, I think it's great fun and I don't feel any problem with having this hobby," stated Mr Littlewood.

Regarding the idea that a gambler has a responsibility to other less skilled gamblers, Mr Littlewood argued that he does not feel a duty towards them as a gambler but as a human being.

"Clearly people who develop some sort of pathological condition I feel sympathy for but I don't feel particular sympathy for alcoholics because I drink and I don't feel particular sympathy for problem gamblers because I gamble.

"I think the industry is over-constrained at the moment and I think that that actually generates quite a difficult cultural problem. We're in danger of treating gambling as something rather naughty, a bit like having a drink too many, that should be hidden away and it should only be adults that go to casinos late at night. I think that is culturally unhelpful."

Mr Littlewood stated that constraints in the industry should be on stakes and age and draws a parallel with alcohol. For example, in many European countries people try alcohol at a much lower age and there are often far less alcohol problems.

Regarding proposed regulation of gambling adverts, Mark Littlewood argued that this was not going to help those with a gambling problem.

"We mustn't think that if we stop betting adverts from appearing in the middle of a football game that their pathological problem isn't going to find another outlet," stated Mr Littlewood.

Listen to the full programme here. Segment begins at 26.53.

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