With the UK’s Gambling Act review White Paper once again in motion, the cross-party DCMS Select Committee has activated an inquiry into the current British gambling landscape.
Despite a review of the 2005 Gambling Act already completed last year and a reform White Paper ‘expected to be published shortly’, the DCMS insisted that it wants to ensure all is in order.
Key focus areas will be evaluating the steps the Government has taken to reduce the risks of gambling-related harm raised by parliament, investigating discrepancies between regulation and innovation in online gambling, and exploring the relationship between sports, betting and broadcasting.
DCMS Committee member Julie Elliott MP commented: “Gambling acts as an enjoyable pastime for large numbers of players, but regulation is struggling to keep pace with the rapidly changing way in which it happens today.
“This puts people at risk of the devastating harm it can sometimes cause to their lives. The DCMS Committee’s inquiry will look at the scale of gambling-related harm in the UK, what the Government should do about it and how a regulatory regime can best adapt to new forms of online gambling, based both in and outside the UK.”
To successfully follow through on its enquiry, the DCMS Committee has requested evidence by February 10 that has been divided into five key areas – the scale of UK gambling-related harm, key focus areas to include in the Gambling Act review White Paper, defining how broad the term ‘gambling’ should be, how to ensure regulatory compliance, and what the existing problems are for operators based outside the UK.
Michael Dugher, CEO of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), commented: “As the standards body for much of the regulated industry, we strongly welcome this inquiry announced today as a further opportunity for the regulated sector to show our continued commitment to raising standards in safer gambling,” Dugher remarked.
“I am sure that the Committee’s inquiry, like the Government’s Gambling Review, will be genuinely ‘evidence-led’ and has to strike a careful balance in making recommendations that are about protecting the vulnerable, whilst not unfairly impacting on the millions of customers who bet perfectly safely and responsibly.”
The BGC also noted that regulated betting in the UK adds to £7.1bn in Gross Value Added for the economy, £4.2bn in annual taxes to the Treasury, while also supporting 110,000 jobs.
That’s why the trade and standards body reminded MPs to be extra vigilant when it comes to driving people towards the black market, giving Norway, France and Italy as an example where the black market constitutes 66%, 57% and 23% of all staked money in each country respectively.
Dugher continued: “Problem gambling may be low by international standards at 0.3%, but one problem gambler is one too many. So we look forward to hearing from the Committee about what more can be done.
“We must also ensure that they do not drive people to the unsafe, unregulated black market online, where there aren’t any safeguards to protect vulnerable people.
“On behalf of over 110,000 people whose jobs depend on the regulated betting and gaming industry, we also look forward to setting out the contribution our industry makes to the UK economy and our commitment to further investment.”