Nottingham man who lost £100,000-plus to gambling addiction calls for TV ad ban

Video: Notts TV’s Kate Chaplin spoke to Ian Bartlett

A Nottingham man who’s lost hundreds of thousands of pounds to betting addiction says gambling adverts should be banned from TV during the day.

The betting industry is currently under scrutiny as part of a Government review and campaigner Ian Bartlett says this is a step towards revealing “the truth” behind betting.

Ian was introduced to gambling at the age of nine by his father and placed his first bet when he was 16.

I had thoughts of suicide

Mr Bartlett said: “Betting has impacted me personally, it impacted me in ways I which I lost my freedom and it impacted my psychologically.

“I had thoughts of suicide; it impacted me in ways I didn’t have enough money to feed myself.

“There are not enough safeguards and protection in place to safeguard children and the vulnerable.”

Mr Bartlett wants to see a watershed in place that means gambling adverts can only be shown on TV after 9pm.

The reforms could be part of the Government’s review into fixed odds betting terminals – gaming machines known in the industry as FOBTs – and often used in betting shops.

Fixed odds betting machines, like the one advertised in this betting shop window, are popular methods of instant gambling.

The machines are estimated to have taken £1.7 billion from UK gamblers last year and Nottinghamshire has one the country’s highest geographical densities of the devices.

Mr Barlett said: “By implementing that watershed and actually ensuring that betting can only go out after nine o’clock, it’s going to be a lot harder to reach children.

“Advertising is all one-sided – it’s all about the fun you can have gambling but there’s a side to gambling that you don’t realise.

“I have a purpose in life now and that is to reach out and to explain to others about the impact that gambling has not only on themselves but also on everyone around them.”

Tracey Crouch, secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sport, said last month: “The Government is committed to ensuring that people, particularly the young and vulnerable, are protected from the risk of gambling-related harm.

“We are keeping the issue of advertising under review to ensure that sufficient protections are in place, and will not hesitate to take further action if necessary.”

But the Remote Gambling Association, whose members include Ladbrokes, William Hill and Paddy Power Betfair, said there was no need for a new investigation.

The trade body said a review by the Department of Culture Media and Sport last year concluded there was no evidence for a ban on daytime TV ads.

“All the evidence was considered and it was deemed there wasn’t significant evidence to make a change of that kind,” said RGA chief executive Clive Hawkswood.

“We would never say things can’t be improved but what’s the justification? Some people have a gut reaction and that’s slightly hard to deal with.”

Mr Bartlett has also organised a petition calling for gambling adverts to only be broadcast after the 9pm watershed.

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