The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has announced a wide-ranging review of the 2005 Gambling Act. The initial consultation is now open for all interested parties to reply to, and this closes at midnight on Wednesday 31st March 2021.
Here, we break down what this means, and how people can contribute to the review process.
What is the Gambling Act?
The Gambling Act 2005 sets out how gambling in the UK is regulated, creating and setting out the functions of the Gambling Commission as the regulator for all gambling services offered in Great Britain (gambling regulation is devolved in Northern Ireland). In 2014, The Act was amended to cover all online gambling companies who offer gambling to customers across the UK.
Why does that Act need a review?
In recent years, the Gambling Act has been widely perceived as ‘analogue legislation in a digital age’, as Government were not able to anticipate the pace of technological growth, change and accessibility for the online market, as well as the types of electronic gambling available in venues.
The Government review aims to:
- Better protect children and the vulnerable, by minimising the risks associated with online products and utilising technology to support harm prevention.
- Gauge the positive and negative impacts of the advertising and marketing of gambling products and brands.
- Prevent gambling related crime.
- Update the Gambling Act to address technological advances in the last 15 years.
- Strike a balance with consumer freedoms and choice.
- Gauge the effectiveness of the gambling regulatory system, including the Gambling Commission’s powers and resources to regulate and keep pace with the licensed market, and tackle unlicensed operators.
- Assess the availability and suitability of redress arrangements for customers.
What could change? Why is this important?
This review has the potential to change several aspects of gambling regulation. The review is a wide-ranging exercise that will take in responses from as many people and organisations as possible, including those affected by gambling harms, on topics including:
- Online protections
- Advertising, sponsorship and branding
- The powers and resources of the Gambling Commission
- Age limits and online verification
- Regulations for casinos or other land-based venues
For many people gambling is not a harmful activity, but for some it can become a serious problem. It is important that the right protections are in place to prevent harm, and that regulations keep pace with innovation in the gambling industry.
Why is it important that we’re part of this consultation?
As the largest provider of gambling support and treatment services across Great Britain, speaking to upwards of 40,000 people via the National Gambling Helpline and our treatment services each year, GamCare is uniquely positioned to represent the voice and experience of those who have been harmed because of gambling as part of this Review.
We welcome the Review, and the opportunity to have a wide-ranging debate about how to best improve services and support for people at risk from gambling harms. Our response will harness our knowledge and will be led by the best evidence, practices and research available. Our key focus will be to ensure wider access to timely and confidential information, advice and support for those affected by gambling harms.
How you can get involved
Over the next two months we will be consulting our service users and others with lived experience of gambling harms in a variety of ways, so that we can present a well-rounded response to this review. We anticipate this will include a mixture of:
- Online surveys
- Online focus groups
- Telephone interviews
- Written submissions
If you would be happy to share your experience and thoughts on specific issues as part of this consultation, please let us know by emailing [email protected].
We’ll keep you up to date regularly throughout the consultation period. If you would also like to join our Service User Panel, you can find out more and register your interest here >>
You can read the Gambling Act Review announcement in full here.