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Gambling Companies under fire for Alleged Big Tobacco Tactics

Public health experts warn of gambling firms adopting big tobacco’s tactics to weaken regulations, spotlighting the urgent need for stricter government oversight.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
Public health experts accuse gambling companies of using tactics similar to big tobacco to push for lighter regulations and fund research to mitigate the harms they cause.
The commercial gambling industry's influence has raised significant concerns about public health and the social consequences of gambling.
Critics argue that the industry’s tactics and lobbying efforts mirror those used by the tobacco and alcohol sectors, causing a call for similar regulatory measures.

Public Concerns Over Gambling Firms’ Tactics

Gambling firms are facing severe criticism as a group of public health experts accuses them of adopting strategies similar to those of big tobacco companies to weaken regulations. These experts are raising concerns, insisting that governments should handle betting firms in a manner similar to how they manage the tobacco industry.

Experts Highlight Parallels Between Gambling and Tobacco Industries

12 distinguished experts in public health have collaborated on an editorial, articulating their concerns and insights regarding the similarities between the maneuverings of gambling firms and those of large tobacco companies. Published in the acclaimed journal Health Promotion International, the editorial accentuates the urgent need for governments to scrutinize and handle wagering companies with a comparable approach to the tobacco industry due to the escalating concerns related to the harmful impacts of gambling.

The editorial noted, “The commercial gambling industry operates from a similar playbook to other health-harming industries, such as tobacco and alcohol.” The industry’s alleged strategies include sidestepping and postponing regulations, contriving innovative products, and creating allure for newer markets, while also purportedly playing a pivotal role in molding research and knowledge production.

Public health experts warn of gambling firms adopting big tobacco’s tactics to weaken regulations, spotlighting the urgent need for stricter government oversight.

Rising Concerns Over Gambling’s Societal and Health Impacts

Prominent academics from various regions including Australia, the United Kingdom, and Africa highlighted substantial evidence depicting the adverse health and societal impacts of gambling, affecting not only individual gamblers but also their families and communities at large. 

A recent study startling data, revealing that gambling addiction contributed to 184 suicides within eight years, predominantly involving males aged between 17 and 44.

Australia alone has approximately 1.3 million individuals grappling with the repercussions of gambling, witnessing a plethora of consequences ranging from financial predicaments and relational disintegrations to severe legal complications and a myriad of health issues.

Industry’s Attempts to Influence Policies and Public Opinion

In a controversial move, Sportsbet and Entain Australia, two of the country’s leading sports gambling companies, have financially backed the establishment of a new gambling research centre at the University of Sydney. This development has garnered widespread criticism from various sectors including the Australian Medical Association and multiple MPs, labeling the funding arrangement as inappropriate and demanding the return of the funds.

However, the gambling companies involved refute the allegations, emphasizing their objective is not to generate favorable research. The University of Sydney too stands by the partnership, asserting that it will yield more pertinent research and clarified that bookmakers would not have any influence over the research outcomes.

Calls for Stricter Regulations

Dr. May van Schalkwyk, an honorary research fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, resonates with this perspective. She advocates for a complete overhaul in the regulation of the gambling industry, emphasizing the need to safeguard science and public health policymaking from undue influence and protect the public from unnecessarily harmful products and practices.

As gambling companies continue to be criticized for their alleged manipulation of policies and regulations, it becomes increasingly crucial for governments and concerned bodies to reassess and strengthen the regulatory frameworks and focus on safeguarding public health and interests.

Marilyn Walters

Marilyn Walters is a seasoned news journalist with over two years of experience in the field. Known for her investigative reporting and insightful analysis, Marilyn has covered significant global events with an objective lens. Her relentless pursuit of truth and dedication to journalistic integrity have established her as a respected voice in today's dynamic news landscape.

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