The 2014 Beckly Lecture took place on Tuesday 1 July at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel, alongside the Methodist Conference. Philip Graf CBE, Chair of the Gambling Commission delivered the lecture entitled ‘Gambling: Sin, Vice or Legitimate Leisure Activity? Challenges for thoughtful Christians’.
The evening was chaired by the Revd Michaela Youngson (Chair of the London Methodist District).
He then spoke about where we are now, including some of the issues raised by the National Lottery since it began in 1994 before moving onto outline some of the main issues. These include fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs or ‘B2’ machines), the level of advertising on TV and the integrity of betting and potential match fixing in sport.
Mr Graf spent some time talking about social responsibility in gambling, and the need for operators to go further than basic compliance with the regulation and put social responsibility at the heart of their business. He outlined an upcoming review of social responsibility issues within the industry, which will cover underage gambling, how people who wish to self-exclude from gambling may do so and how operators deal with their customers.
Concluding, Mr Graf said that gambling can be a vice if it leads to spending more than one can afford, but, if done as a leisure activity with friends in a way that is not motivated by a consuming desire for gain at the expense of others, then it can be a legitimate way to have fun.