12 March 2019

Iain Duncan Smith speaks in a debate on gambling and raises concerns about big gambling companies giving inducements to those with the highest level of losses and gagging orders to stop employees talking about what is going on.

I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing the debate. Two or three really important facts are only just becoming known. One is that the big gambling companies give inducements to those who have the highest level of losses because those people make them their profits. I understand that they also do their level best eventually to get rid of those who are not in debt, and do not lose so much. They do not want them on their sites; they want those who lose, whom they can condition to it.

On the all-party parliamentary group, we have also discovered that gagging orders are being put in place to stop employees talking about what is going on. Companies are not supposed to give inducements to people who are already addicted, but it happens. Does my hon. Friend accept that that is a real problem?

My right hon. Friend, who has done a lot of work on this subject, not least through the Centre for Social Justice, is right to highlight some shocking practices that have undoubtedly happened. In my own constituency, a friend of mine who is a taxi driver ran up £650,000 of debt with one gambling firm. I hope that all taxi drivers in Gloucester are well remunerated, but frankly none of them can afford such vast amounts of money. Part of it came from inducements—indeed, there was a lot of wining and dining of such a profitable customer. That is one of the intrinsic slight conflicts of interest within the sector. I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for mentioning that.