In 2005 the Government in the UK opened the door to gambling becoming “an acceptable leisure activity”. I was a gambler for 40 years and believe me when I say that when you are in it, you don’t see the potential harm caused to some vulnerable people until you step back you see it for what it is. For those whose lives are ruined by Gambling Addiction, the notion of it being an acceptable leisure activity is ridiculous.
How can I best channel my burning desire to help those who each day are being harmed by Gambling Addiction?
Please bear in mind that my own experiences are testimony to the damage that may be caused – I have experienced family breakdown, relationship breakdown, debt, prison and I could go on. However let’s also consider some independent sources to understand what I see as some of the problems surrounding gambling in the UK:
- Ofcom research shows gambling commercials have rocketed from 234,000 in 2007 to nearly 1.4 million last year. That is a 600% increase in 6 years.
- In 2009 there were 109,000 children stopped in a betting shop but in 2013 that number had rocketed to 588,000 and 27,000 were stopped after placing their first bet.
- A report, for the Lottery Commission by Ipsos MORI in September 2013, concluded that of over 2,000 11-15yr olds, surveyed from 100 state maintained schools, no less than 15% of young teenagers had engaged in some form of gambling “in the last week”.
What concerns me therefore is that we are now seeing the aftershocks of the 2005 Governement’s policy and in my opinion things are going to deteriorate even more.
I want to share a dream I had; I was in The Spirit and I looked down and I could see the river Thames and there was fire on the water. Big Ben struck 12, and I saw that the fire went under a bridge and into the House of Commons.
Zechariah 4.6 “Not by might nor by power, but by my spirit“, says the lord almighty.
I truly believe that the Lord has heard the cry of those who are suffering from Gambling Addiction and is now asking Men of God to step out and say “enough is enough”. This is what led to the creation of GAMSERVE, a movement that is dedicated to asking serious questions and seeking significant change around the gambling industry in the UK. I spent the weekend of CVM’s Gathering (in a field near Swindon!) talking to people that could see the problem and agreed that something had to be done and I pray that anyone that reads this blog will take time to look at my website.
As Christians, we need to respond to negative developments in our society and one way is to speak out and challenge the liberalisation of the gambling industry. I trust that you will join me and that the Lord will see my prayers answered as I serve obediently in His name.