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  1. ITV Report

Family takes campaign for tighter gambling regulations to Downing Street

A father and son from Sheffield have taken their campaign to Downing Street today to demand tighter regulation of the gambling industry.

David Bradford spent eight months in prison after stealing £50,000 from his employers to fund his secret gambling addiction.

The Bradford family

His family were only told of the shock revelations in full in a letter which David wrote from prison.

Later, they discovered their home had been re-mortgaged to pay off David’s debts. Now they face losing their family home of 30 years in the next couple of weeks. David’s debts total nearly half a million pounds.

Since the sentencing, David’s son Adam launched a campaign to raise awareness of gambling addiction and to push for tighter control of the industry’s products and advertising. He also wants more support to be available for for gambling addicts.

David Bradford has spoken out about the emotional toll of his gambling addiction.

In April of this year, Adam attracted the attention of Prime Minister David Cameron after launching an open letter to all the political party leaders calling for stricter regulation and controls over the industry.

The Prime Minister responded praising Adam's campaign and detailing some of the measures the Government has introduced to protect gamblers.

This campaign raises some really important issues and the Conservatives agree with the general thrust of it. We support a responsible gambling industry which offers fun and enjoyment to its customers but which also ensures protection to players and works to prevent people gambling excessively and becoming addicted.

We have therefore introduced new mandatory player protections for people who gamble on high stakes gaming machines. These include suspensions in play when players reach limits they have set up and alerts when they have been playing for 30 minutes or when £250 has been spent. We have introduced tough new rules to insist anyone staking over £50 has to use account-based play or load cash over the counter – this will increase the potential for interaction with staff and the identification of problem gambling. In addition, we have given councils greater powers to restrict the numbers of betting shops on their high street. We have also launched a review of gambling advertising, covering both the watershed and sign-up offers.

We do, of course, want to see the gambling industry do more to recognise and mitigate the dangers of excessive gambling so that fewer people fall victim to gambling addiction.

– David Cameron

Now months into David’s addiction treatment, the family say David Cameron’s letter does not go far enough and they have gained the support of Sheffield’s NHS Clinical Commissioning Group who are helping them to raise awareness of gambling addiction through publicity support for GPs to better understand the addiction and its effects.

The 2010 British Gambling Prevalence survey highlighted that around half a million people could suffer with a gambling related problem but David and his son Adam believe the real figure could be more than double that. Research also suggests that a gambling addict’s actions can affect up to 10 other individuals around them, including family and friends, so the real figure of people affected by gambling addiction could be approaching 20 million – a third of Britain’s population.

With the knock-on cost to society of Britain’s drug problem reaching £13bn, with 2.7million addicts, the cost of gambling addiction to society could soon be exposed as Britain’s new multi-billion-pound addiction.

Adam is now calling for an independent inquiry into gambling addiction in Britain.

I am very grateful to the Prime Minister for his support earlier on this year, however his words are not enough. We need to see forward-thinking political action to tackle this growing problem. Over the past year I’ve seen countless tragedies and harrowing stories come to light which highlight the dangers of gambling addiction. Not enough is being done to tackle the dangers and I want to see David Cameron deliver on the words he said to me back in May.

– Adam Bradford