A new report released by the House of Lords has called for urgent action from the UK gambling industry to protect players.
Titled ‘Gambling Harm – Time for Action’, the paper makes no fewer than 66 recommendations to help achieve this.
The report took over a year to compile and acknowledges the harm that gambling has caused to many, though it also notes that most enjoy said activity in a safe manner.
Governing bodies and other organisations, such as the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), have already issued responses.
A lot of recommendations included
Committee Chair Lord Grade of Yarmouth said the following when the report’s findings were published.
“Urgent action by the Government is required. Lax regulation of the gambling industry must be replaced by a more robust and focused regime which prioritises the welfare of gamblers ahead of industry profits.
“Addiction is a health problem which should be treated by the NHS and paid for by gambling industry profits. The Government must impose a mandatory levy on the industry. The more harmful a gambling product is, the higher the levy the operator should pay.”
One of the report’s 66 recommendations includes iGaming affiliates being licensed by the UKGC. This has already been supported by organisations such as Responsible Affiliates in Gaming (RAiG).
In addition to affiliate licensing, the House of Lords also wants sports kit sponsorship and venue advertising to be banned. Non-Premier League football would have an exemption until 2023, as would horse racing and other sports.
The report also suggests that the UKGC should undergo a performance review every three years, while financial penalties should match the size of the operator.
The BGC believes that the House of Lords’ findings highlight the need to crack on with reviewing the 2005 Gambling Act. This was promised by the Conservative government if they won last December’s election, which they did by a sizeable margin.
The council had the following to say.
“The BGC welcomes the House of Lords report as a substantial and important report on the future of gambling regulation. There is much in it that we support and whilst we don’t agree with every recommendation, we feel this is an important contribution to the debate and the approach the Lords took was constructive.
“We would now urge the Government to bring forward their planned Review of the Gambling Act without delay and to work with the industry on an evidence-led approach to future regulation.”
The UKGC has also responded to the release of ‘Time for Action’. Chief Executive Neil McArthur said the below.
We welcome this report and are already working on a number of the recommendations highlighted. As we made clear in our evidence to this and other committees, we need greater resources to be able to meet the challenges ahead. Our current funding arrangements do not give us the resources we need and we are working closely with DCMS to address that.
“We have made considerable progress in many areas to make gambling safer. We have tightened the regulation of the online sector and taken much tougher enforcement action against operators, including suspending and revoking licences. In the weeks ahead we will be publishing plans to remove potentially-addictive features in games, further improve customer interaction and strengthen affordability checks.
“We recognise that criticism is something that all regulators face. Where the criticisms are justified we will learn from them, but as we have been completely transparent and candid in all the evidence we have given to the various committees, in many areas this and other recent reports are playing back issues we have raised, know we need to work on and are already working to improve.”