London party

Ronnie Cowan will speak at a gambling reform rally in London about his misdeeds

SNP MP Ronnie Cowan is due to speak at a major gambling reform rally in London next Tuesday.

The Inverclyde MP is expected to be joined at the event by former footballers Paul Merson and Peter Shilton. The rally was organized by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Harm, of which the MP is deputy chair.

He wants to see new restrictions placed on the gambling industry on advertising on shirts and advertising on football pitches, to protect children and young people from gambling.

READ MORE: Activists march from Glasgow to Edinburgh over football game adverts

The MP previously led a successful campaign to limit betting on fixed-odds betting terminals in bookmaker shops, which had been identified as a major cause of gambling addiction in often disadvantaged communities.

Ronnie Cowan MP has spoken out on the dangers of gambling

The MP said: “The game hurts every day, and football advertising plays a part in preparing children and normalizing the game for adults. Today’s equivalent of the tobacco industry are gambling corporations. They collect huge sums of money, generate huge profits and pay huge salaries to their elite employees, while ruthlessly pursuing bettors and extracting every penny from them.

“The health and well-being of their customers is not a priority. Games are designed to be addictive. The exponential growth rate of online casinos has removed the human touch and bettors have been reduced to being part of the machine.

“Online gambling can be 24/7. Cooling off periods no longer exist. To feed addiction, people have turned to crime, families have been broken up and people have committed suicide.

“The gambling industry funds addiction research and support for those who suffer, and they foot the bill for the Gambling Commission, which regulates the industry.

“But it’s not right for those who cause harm to have financial control over research, education, treatment and regulation.

“The link between industry money and services for those who suffer must be severed and funding in the form of a statutory levy must be channeled through the NHS.”