Response to Carolyn Harris MP Coinslot: 7 – 13 August 2020

Peter Hannibal
Chief Executive
Gambling Business Group

“Why let the facts get in the way of a toxic narrative? Whether the speech should be classified as misinformation or disinformation is open to conjecture and making the comparison with tobacco will offend all of the very conscientious people that I know working in gambling, as I am sure it was intended to do. Tobacco can harm everyone, even those not using it. Gambling doesn’t harm the vast majority of those who enjoy their freedom of choosing to engage with it. They are therefore not the same. Furthermore, no one in the gambling industry says or believes that nobody is harmed from gambling because we know that some are. The research shows that in the UK 0.5 percent of adults do experience harm from gambling. It’s estimated that there are 350,000 problem gamblers in the UK, but what is an extra million fictional problem gamblers between MPs? However, the really sad thing is that a high- profile MP is catastrophising the actual number of vulnerable people for her own political ends. This irresponsible approach takes the critical focus away from those who genuinely need our support and our help. Playing politics with peoples’ addictions and vulnerabilities plumbs new depths. Working with the

member for Swansea East against other sectors of the Industry was always a risky strategy and now everyone can see it starting to seriously back-fire.”