Gambling charity GamCare is to launch the first public health ad campaign to warn of the dangers of problem gambling in the run-up to industry deregulation in 2006.
The decision comes as the charity is pushing to be formally recognised as the auditor for standards in the gaming community under the proposed Gambling Bill, which is expected to be included in the Queen’s speech in November.
Peter Cox, managing director of GamCare, says it is talking to the Government about its future role. Cox wants GamCare to work with the proposed gaming regulator, the Gambling Commission, to help set up and audit an industry code of practice that will help prevent “problem” gambling.
Cox says there is likely to be an “explosion” of gambling addiction as casinos and bookmakers are freed of restrictions on floor space and machine numbers. Casinos will also be allowed to encourage gambling through unrestricted advertising for the first time. A recent study by the Henley Centre has warned that the numbers of problem gamblers are set to almost double post-deregulation.
GamCare will launch an ad campaign that Cox says will explain the dangers of gambling and help people make informed choices. It has already begun to work on the campaign with agency Joined-Up Communications.