The gambling industry tries to influence how the public and politicians think about gambling. The tactics they use are similar to how other harmful industries, such as tobacco and fossil fuels, operate.
Initiatives led by the gambling industry to promote ‘responsible’ or ‘safer’ gambling are not transparent about how addictive some products are, how the human brain is impacted, how misleading advertising is, or how they profit from the people who are most harmed. Instead, they ask their customers to make sure they gamble responsibly.
Gambling affects the lives of millions of people in the UK… it isn’t their fault.
The industry adds messages to its advertisements and spends millions of pounds each year on education programmes to promote the idea of ‘responsible’ or ‘safer’ gambling. Commonly used messages include ‘Take Time to Think’ and ‘When the Fun Stops, Stop’. These hide the causes of harm and reinforce a message that individual customers are solely responsible for the harm they are experiencing and it is their job to fix their problem, rather than placing the onus on the industry to stop making harmful products.
The promotion of ‘safer gambling’ and ‘individual responsibility’ causes many people to misunderstand why they are being harmed, to feel abnormal for being harmed, and believe it is their fault. The stigma caused by the narratives of ‘safer gambling’ and ‘individual responsibility’ is harmful and it increases the suicide risk associated with gambling.
People don’t get addicted to products that aren’t addictive.