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Gambling advertising

Part of Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:45 am on 17th March 2020.

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Photo of Catherine West Catherine West Labour, Hornsey and Wood Green 9:45 am, 17th March 2020

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

I am pleased to introduce this new clause, which deals with gambling advertising and the Commonwealth games. We all know that my hon. Friend Carolyn Harris is a fierce campaigner on this question, as are others in the House, including Rob Butler. There is considerable concern in the House around gambling advertising, and I want to see that reflected in the Bill. I want gambling companies barred from sponsoring the games. I know it is unlikely that the organising committee will enter into an agreement with a gambling company, but it is important to have that in the Bill so that we can be sure that gambling companies will be responsible in how they proceed.

Gambling is a significant and harmful aspect of sport in general, and the NHS has recently opened a gambling clinic for 14-year-olds. The Minister and I have discussed the concerns in the House. We are pleased that the FA has decided that young people who want to watch football on their phones should not have to register with a gambling company first—that has now been stopped. That is down to the campaigning from expert Members in this House, and I want to see that apply to any sport. Because the Bill falls under the heading of sport, I want a specific pledge from the Minister to prevent any form of official gambling support. That would send a strong and notable signal that gambling in sport should be discouraged.

The Commonwealth games, with the 54 members of the Commonwealth, is an international phenomenon. It would be negative for young people watching the games to be bombarded with gambling messages. Although we have the issue of our 14-year-olds and other young people succumbing to the addiction of gambling, we would not want that to spread across any other Commonwealth country. I hope the Minister will look carefully at the new clause and advise us on how those values can be brought to the Commonwealth games.