April 2024

Gambling regulation: Government response to report published

On Friday, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee published the Government response to its report ‘Gambling Regulation’.  The Government has responded supportively to the Committee’s recommendations, with the implementation of the Gambling White Paper remaining a shared priority.  All the relevant reports are attached; there were no mentions of bingo in the Government’s response.

Key Points 

Implementation and Gambling White Paper – The Government agree with the need to implement the 62 specific proposals set out in the white paper “at pace”, and on the need for thorough consultations with input from “appropriate stakeholders”. The Government has welcomed the Committee’s endorsement of the white paper.

The Black Market – The Committee has “rightly” highlighted that the risk of illegal online gambling sites is a “pertinent issue”. As the Committee stated, the Government will introduce new powers for the Gambling Commission so it can more effectively take action against the illegal online gambling market through the Criminal Justice Bill. The Government also agrees with the Committee on the importance of monitoring the risks posed by illegal gambling operators.

Online Gambling Protections – The Government welcomes the Committee’s support of the principle of financial risks checks that are minimally intrusive and with appropriate data protection controls. The Government likewise agree with the Committee on the need for a system whereby gambling operators could share data on high-risk customers to protect consumers from harm. In addition, the Government has noted the Committee’s recommendation that point-of-sale information should be provided to customers about the risk of specific products and their design features.

Children and Young Adults – The Government has welcomed the Committee’s support for the introduction of enhanced online gambling protections for young adults aged 18 to 24.

Gambling Advertising – The Government “absolutely recognise” that gambling advertisements can have a disproportionate impact on those experiencing gambling harms. The Government welcomes the Committee’s support for both the Government’s proposals surrounding direct marketing and promotional offers, alongside the withdrawal of gambling sponsorship from the front of Premier League players’ shirts. 

Land-based Gambling – The Government will set out its position in relation it its proposed land-based reforms, in the consultation response which will be published “shortly”. In addition, the Government will monitor the impact of the changes to the land-based sector, particularly the increased availability of Category B machines. The Government agree that local authorities should be provided with guidance on how cumulative impact assessments can be used for gambling premises, and recognise the “significant contribution” that horseracing makes to British sporting culture and the rural economy.

Gambling Research, Prevention and Treatment – The Government welcomes the Committee’s support for the proposed structure and governance of the statutory levy, and has assured it will publish its response to the consultation on the statutory levy “in the coming weeks”. The Government also welcomes the Committee’s call for measurable targets for harm reduction.

A Gambling Ombudsman – The Government welcome the Committee’s support for a gambling ombudsman, and are working “at pace” with industry and all stakeholders to ensure customers have access to an ombudsman that is fully operational, independent and credible. Should this approach not deliver as expected, the Government will “actively explore the full range of options” to legislate to create a statutory ombudsman.

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