Church leaders criticise 'contradiction' in Gambling Bill
In a letter published in the Daily Telegraph, church leaders have criticised a 'contradiction' at the heart of the Government's Gambling Bill, which receives its second reading in the House of Commons today.
The letter signed by representatives from the Church of England, Salvation Army, Church of Scotland, Methodist church and Catholic church, states; "Our churches have made it clear that we support the new protective measures in the Bill and welcome the government's commitment to protect children and vulnerable people."
"However, there is a clear contradiction at the heart of the Bill. It is paradoxical that one part of the Bill exists to ameliorate problems that could be created by the other part."
"The Gambling Bill paves the way for huge casinos which will contain some of the most addictive forms of gambling, such as casino table games and unlimited prize fruit machines. All of the experts seem to agree that their proliferation across the UK will lead to an increase in the number of problem gamblers", the letter says.
"Churches are called, among other things, to care for the vulnerable and disadvantaged in society. The knock on effects of problem gambling, including family and relationship breakdown, are severe and harmful."
"Ruined lives are not a price worth paying for more gambling opportunities."
The letter is signed by;
Tom Butler, Bishop of Southwark, Church of England
Commissioner Shaw Clifton, Territorial Commander, The Salvation Army
Dr Alison Elliot OBE, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
Revd Will Morrey, President of the Methodist Conference
Peter Smith, Archbishop of Cardiff, Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales