Hurlingham Club poker night for 15-year-olds branded 'staggeringly ill-conceived' by anti gambling campaign – Telegraph.co.uk

The Hurlingham Club is caught up in a row over a poker night for teenagers with anti gambling campaigners accusing the organisers of holding a “staggeringly ill-conceived” event. 

The West London club, frequented by Royals and celebrities, is set to be transformed into a Las Vegas-style casino next month for the event, which is being billed as “one of the most glamorous parties of the Christmas season”.

However, Lord Chadlington, a leading Tory peer and donor, who is campaigning for better protection for children from gambling, has accused the exclusive club of contributing to the “normalisation of gambling in this country”.

He said: “Children are being groomed to gamble. We must pay much more attention to the serious effects of gambling-related harm and this reinforces the need for urgent action, particularly to protect children.”

Details of the exclusive event come days after the Gambling Commission warned that the number of children classed as having a gambling problem has quadrupled to more than 50,000 in just two years.

According to a major new report by the body, more than 450,000 children bet regularly, more than those who have taken drugs, smoked or drunk alcohol.

The Rt Reverend Alan Smith, the Bishop of St Alban’s and Church of England’s lead on gambling, told The Sunday Telegraph: “In light of the Gambling Commission’s findings this week an event like this seems staggeringly ill-conceived.

“For tens of thousands of young people gambling has already become a dangerous habit, sometimes with serious consequences.

‘We need to recognise the damage gambling can do, so I regret any attempts to normalised gambling among teenagers.”

No money will change hands at the Christmas event, but the players, aged between 15 and 19 years old, are being invited

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