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Minutes from the 9th September 2020 Meeting of the APPG

Please click here to download the minutes from the 9th September 2020 meeting of the APPG.

Minutes from the 18th May 2020 Meeting of the APPG

Please click here to download the minutes from the 18th May 2020 meeting of the APPG.

Minutes from the 4th May 2020 Meeting of the APPG

Please click here to download the minutes from the 4th May 2020 meeting of the APPG.

Minutes from the 11th May 2020 Meeting of the APPG

Please click here to download the minutes from the 11th May 2020 meeting of the APPG.

PRESS RELEASE: Politicians Combine to Tackle Problem Gambling

23 June 2020

Politicians at Stormont and Westminster are joining forces to toughen up gambling laws on both sides of the Irish sea.

The recently-formed All Party Group on Reducing Harm Related to Gambling at Stormont is about to launch an inquiry into how best to reform Northern Ireland’s obsolete gambling legislation.

Meanwhile the Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group at Westminster has just completed its own inquiry into online gambling and is demanding tough new laws, including a total ban on gambling advertising in GB and stake limits for online gambling.

The Stormont APG Chair, Robbie Butler MLA, said: “From our perspective the timing could not be better. We’ve been in touch to exchange notes and we’ll be asking the Westminster chair Carolyn Harris MP to give evidence to our inquiry when it begins in the autumn.”

The Westminster All Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Related Harm published a hard-hitting report last week after a year-long inquiry. It calls for a complete overhaul of gambling law and its 30 recommendations include:

  • Stake limits for online slot content of no higher than £2 given the potential to cause harm
  • A ban on all VIP schemes and inducements
  • A ban on all gambling advertising
  • A complete overhaul of gambling regulation in the UK. It states the Gambling Commission is not fit for purpose.

Carolyn Harris MP, Chair of the GRH APPG, said: “This multi-million pound industry has destroyed people’s lives. They have shown time and again that they will not effectively self-regulate. The Westminster APPG has set out over 30 recommendations to reform our online gambling industry and these changes cannot come soon enough. We are looking forward to sharing our experience of calling for gambling reform with Stormont colleagues and working together where we can in the coming weeks and months to make gambling safer, fairer and better regulated in both GB and NI.”

Philip McGuigan MLA, Vice Chair of the Stormont APG said: “I’ve studied the Westminster report carefully and there is much in it that will help our members in our deliberations. Gambling harm is a major issue on this island and in Britain. It is important, therefore, that as we try to address that issue and modernise our legislation here in the North so that it is fit for purpose that we learn and share best practice with others.”

The Stormont inquiry is expected to start taking evidence in September.

Robbie Butler concluded: “This is not about banning gambling; it is about protecting the vulnerable and making our laws fit for purpose. Our members are from across the political divide and there is a very strong sense of common purpose between us. Working with our peers at Westminster will bring obvious benefits to the inquiry.”

ENDS

For further information, please contact Will Chambré, Reducing Harm Related to Gambling APG Secretariat, on 07736 230585.

Minutes from the 9th April Meeting of the APPG

Please click here to download the minutes from the 9th April 2020 meeting of the APPG.

Sunday Times 26th April 2020: APPG’s Letter to the Editor

GAMBLING ADDICTS ARE EASY PREY

There is clear evidence that online gambling companies are offering inducements to vulnerable gamblers and recovering addicts who are isolated at home (News, last week). They must stop this predatory behaviour.

It is time for this industry to act with integrity and adopt measures we have proposed to protect vulnerable gamblers: deposit and stake limits for the duration of the crisis, the closing of addictive “VIP” accounts, the cessation of gambling advertising and the provision of data on the scale of activity. The Gambling Commission also has a duty to ensure that the vulnerable are protected.

The actions of the industry at this time show that, now more than ever, reforming our outdated gambling legislation must be a priority.

Carolyn Harris MP

Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP

Ronnie Cowan MP

Sammy Wilson MP,

Lord Foster of Bath

Bishop Alan of St Albans

Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones, Director, National Problem Gambling Clinic

Stephen Timms MP

Tracey Crouch MP

Stuart McDonald MP

Jim Shannon MP

Lord Clement-Jones

Gerald Jones MP

Richard Holden MP

David Linden MP

Jessica Morden MP

Steve Baker MP

Alison Thewliss MP

Judith Cummins MP

Sir Desmond Swayne MP

Patricia Gibson MP

Lord Beecham

Baroness Eaton

Jeff Smith MP

Mike Penning MP

Ruth Cadbury MP

Tim Loughton MP

Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP

Richard Bacon MP

Rachel Hopkins MP

Neil Parish MP

Ian Byrne MP

Robin Millar MP

Apsana Begum MP

Peter Gibson MP

Paula Barker MP

APPG Writes to Minister and Gambling Companies about Covid-19 and Gambling Related Harm

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Gambling Related Harm and Prof. Henrietta Bowden Jones OBE, Director of the National Problem Gambling Clinic, have today written to the Betting and Gaming Council, five large online bookmakers (Bet365, William Hill, GVC, SkyBet and Flutter) and to the Sport, Tourism and Heritage Minister, Nigel Huddleston MP.

The letters call for the online gambling industry to adopt five urgently needed measures, in addition to taking further steps to protect vulnerable gamblers during the Covid–19 pandemic.

They note that “at this time, it is incumbent on us all to do everything we can to support people’s safety and well-being, to support our society, protect the vulnerable and to put public interest ahead of gambling companies profit.”

Letters:

Letter sent to Nigel Huddleston MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism and Heritage.

Letter sent to the the Betting and Gaming Council and the CEOs of GVC, Bet365, SkyBet, William Hill, and Flutter.

Minutes from the 12th February 2020 Session with Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission CEO

Please click here to download the minutes of the 12th February 2020 session in which the APPG heard from the CEO of the Gambling Commission, Neil McArthur.

PRESS RELEASE: Statement from the APPG for Gambling Related Harm on the National Audit Office Report

Today the National Audit Office has effectively said that the Gambling Commission is not fit for purpose.

This is a major intervention by the Government’s own auditor and organisation which holds the Government to account.

Individuals at the Gambling Commission should be held accountable for this failing and urgent action must be taken by the Commission to raise standards across the industry, particularly online.

The NAO note that even if the Commission makes improvements ‘it is unlikely to be fully effective in regulating a challenging and fast-changing industry within the current system’. This is unacceptable.

We cannot wait years for new Gambling legislation to be introduced. The Government must immediately bring forward legislation to ensure the ever-growing gambling market it being properly regulated, consumers are protected and an Ombudsman is established. A failure to do this would be an abdication of the Government’s responsibility.