Latest News

Gambling Related Harm APPG Launches Gambling White Paper Inquiry

Following the publication of the Government’s White Paper on Gambling Regulation ‘High Stakes: Gambling Reform for the Digital Age’, the Gambling Related Harm APPG is today launching a new inquiry. The purpose of this inquiry is to:

  • Assess and analyse the measures in the Government’s White Paper ‘High Stakes: Gambling Reform for the Digital Age’, and set out recommendations for the government to inform the consultation phase;
  • Hold the Government to account and ensure reforms are taken forward as quickly as possible;
  • Ensure that where commitments have been made in the White Paper to legislate ‘when parliamentary time allows’, that these commitments are taken forward as a priority including the attribution of greater powers to the Gambling Commission to ensure enforcement.

The APPG has championed the case for bringing our gambling regulation into the digital age. Our key focus has been on modernising and developing regulation in the online gambling industry which has rapidly evolved since the 2005 Gambling Act, without sufficient regulation. We were therefore pleased to see the Government commit to take forward reforms in key areas including:

  • New calls on operators to conduct checks to understand if a customer’s gambling is likely to be unaffordable and harmful;
  • A commitment by the Gambling Commission to consult on mandating participation in a cross-operator harm prevention system based on data sharing;
  • Proposals to consult on updating design rules for online products;
  • Proposed stake limits for online slots;
  • A commitment to consult on implementing potential improvements to player- set deposit limits such as making them mandatory of opt-out rather than opt-in;
  • Proposals to review the design and targeting of incentives such as free bets and bonuses;
  • Greater funding and powers to be given to the Gambling Commission;
  • The essential introduction of a statutory levy to be paid by operators and collected and distributed by the Gambling Commission under the direction and approval of ministers;
  • The introduction of an ombudsman that will be fully independent of the industry, and;
  • Greater protections for young people including measures preventing the use of Category D cash slot machines.

We were also disappointed to see the relatively weak proposals set out on restrictions to gambling advertising including for White Label and Affiliate products. Much more must be done on advertising to protect children and young people.

The APPG will be holding evidence sessions looking at the measures set out above.

Carolyn Harris MP, Chair of the Gambling Related Harm APPG said:

“Whilst we entirely welcome many of the proposals set out in the White Paper, and are pleased the Government has listened to our calls for reform, there is clearly more work to be done. The APPG will now seek to inform the Government with further evidence and analysis during the important consultation phase, and ensure that measures and commitments made, that will help save lives, are implemented as a priority.”

We would also welcome evidence or submissions to the APPG by the 11th July 2023 to inform our thinking and recommendations specifically around:

  • What is the optimal stake limit for harmful online slot content and how online game design should be modified to prevent harm including opt-out deposit limits?
  • How the Statutory Levy should be operated and administered?
  • How should affordability checks be operated and what are the proposed parameters set out by the government?
  • What is the optimal system for data sharing?
  • How an Ombudsman should be operated and administered?
  • What further steps should be taken to protect children and young people from Gambling advertising?

The APPG will also continue to scrutinise further areas of potential harm, including those not included within the remit of the White Paper, such as the operation of the National Lottery and the emergence of new forms of gambling.

Please send submissions to the inquiry to by the 11th July 2023. Further information on the APPG can be accessed here.

The APPG’s priorities are listed below. Members pushed for these recommendations as part of the Gambling Review and, where possible, for earlier action. There should be: 

  • Effective affordability checks for gamblers to prevent harm  
  • An enforceable “duty of care” on the gambling industry to seek to avoid harm  
  • Speed of play and stake limits for on-line gambling – with a triennial review of all stake limits 
  • Testing for harm and the classification of all new gambling products  
  • A mandatory “smart” levy on the industry to fund the costs of research, education and treatment 
  • A ban on direct marketing and all inducements and an end sports sponsorship   
  • A Gambling Ombudsman to redress wrongs 
  • Gambling regulation for Loot Boxes, which develop gambling in children  
  • A Reform of “VIP schemes” 
  • An NHS-led and commissioned treatment system to treat gambling addiction. 

Gambling White Paper Publication – Statement from GRH APPG

The APPG on Gambling Related Harm strongly welcomes the proposals set out in today’s Gambling White Paper to reform outdated gambling laws.

Our gambling laws are analogue legislation in a digital age, facilitating an industry where:

  • Losses from online gambling are “strongly skewed” towards the most deprived areas, with the 20% poorest regions supplying 25% of industry revenue (GambleAware, 2022)
  • High annual stakes are concentrated in a minority of accounts. The 10% of accounts with the highest annual stakes delivered 79% of gross gambling yield.

Many of the reforms set out today were first proposed by the APPG in our interim report in 2019 and we have consistently called for their introduction since then. We are pleased that the government has finally been able to adopt many of our proposals.

While this process has taken far too long, the measures set out today are a turning point in the regulation of the online gambling industry in this country which will protect gamblers, young people and children for years to come.

Since 2005, this industry has grown exponentially and without effective and appropriate regulation. Today changes that, with a clear acknowledgement that this industry should face much tougher regulation and that greater protections are needed.

Taken together, today’s proposals to implement affordability checks and stake limits, which must be set at levels which are equivalent to those in the land-based sector and ensure harm prevention, are important steps towards ensuring that people are not gambling more than they can afford.

The introduction of a mandatory levy, which was strongly resisted by the gambling industry, to pay for research, education and treatment is a seismic moment, for the first time enabling transparent and independent funding for those that need it. We will be working closely with the government and regulator to ensure that this system is set up as swiftly as possible and that the levy is independently overseen.

For too long, consumers have not had an effective system to seek redress against the global gambling industry. We look forward to working with the government to put more effective systems in place to support consumers.

While we are delighted with the reforms set out today, there are also clear omissions. Crucially, much more must be done on advertising to protect children. The Premier League’s decision to remove front of shirt advertising on match days was welcome but we are bombarded by gambling advertising in sport, in the media and online. We will be pushing for much stronger action from the government in this area.

We also call on the government to swiftly implement the proposals which will protect gamblers and ultimately save lives. This process has already taken far too long. Consulting on the detail of reform must be a rapid process and change must be implemented. Further delays are simply unacceptable and merely benefit the gambling industry.

This is also an industry which is constantly evolving and so we also call on the government to ensure that so too does the regulation which surrounds it. Reform must be constant, not a once in a generation moment. It must be based on the evidence and free of industry influence.

We would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank those who we have worked alongside us to champion reform in Parliament, the NHS, academia, campaigners, sportsmen and women and, of course, those with lived experience, who know only too well the utter devastation that gambling can cause.

Carolyn Harris MP, Chair:

“Regulation of the online gambling industry has been long overdue. I am delighted that the government has finally adopted the recommendations that we put forward to reform our vastly outdated gambling laws. I’m incredibly proud of the work the Gambling Related Harm APPG has done, which will go a long way towards helping those that have been impacted by gambling harms. The government and regulator now need to get on and implement the reforms that have been set out today to prevent further harm and devastation being caused by this unfettered industry”

Iain Duncan Smith MP, Vice Chair:

I am delighted to see today a key Conservative manifesto promise to reform our outdated gambling legislation finally come to fruition and end the worst abuses of the gambling industry. The introduction of a much-needed statutory levy on the industry will finally end the unworkable and ineffective voluntary system and ensure that adequate funding will go towards research, education and importantly, treatment for those who have been impacted by gambling related harm. Affordability checks and stake limits will prevent people from spending more than they can afford and I look forward to our systems of redress being overhauled. But there is more to do, and we will make sure we hold the government’s feet to the fire to ensure these measures are implemented swiftly and that the reform does not stop here.”

Ronnie Cowan MP, Vice Chair:

“The Government has finally listened and agreed to bring forward our suggested reforms to our gambling legislation after years of campaigning. Affordability measures and stake limits are essential to protecting people. I am concerned that after years of delay the U.K. government is still talking about putting some matters out for consultation. They should have been engaged in this discussion, especially with those with lived experience, for years. We have urgently needed a proper levy on the industry and will be making sure this is fit for purpose. We will, of course, be looking intensely at the detail and will continue to work with the Government to ensure that these reforms are not watered down and are implemented as soon as possible, but this White Paper is a positive step forwards that has the potential to save lives.”


Members Present
• Carolyn Harris MP
• The Rt Hon. Sir Ian Duncan Smith MP
• Ronnie Cowan MP
• Margaret Ferrier MP
• Mark Menzies MP
• Baroness Lampard

Gambling Related Harm APPG and Peers for Gambling Reform hold joint Gambling Reform Rally

Today, Paul Merson, ex Arsenal and England player and Peter Shilton OBE, will be joined by over 250 people including cross-party Parliamentarians, leading sporting figures, and charities, in Westminster, to call for bold and significant reforms to tackle gambling harm. Gambling Minister Chris Philp MP will address the rally.

The Gambling Reform Rally, organised by the Gambling Related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group and Peers for Gambling Reform, will underline the devastating impact the online gambling industry is having.

In 2020, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) launched a review of gambling laws, amid mounting concern over addiction and children’s exposure to gambling advertising including through football sponsorship. A White Paper is due to be published shortly.

In an open letter, attendees are calling on the Government to take action to deal with gambling harm to ensure:

  1. People are not gambling more than they can afford and that there is an effective system of assessing affordability that is run independent from the industry
  2. Stake limits are set online as they are on land-based gambling machines, particularly for more harmful online slots
  3. People with gambling addiction and experiencing harm have treatment available to them that is overseen by the NHS. A statutory levy on the gambling industry should pay for this
  4. That the excessive gambling advertising all around us is curbed: on television, on the radio, online and at football matches.

New polling by YouGov found:

  • nearly 80% (78%) support a complete ban on gambling advertising on all platforms before the 9pm watershed
  • 79% support children not being exposed to advertising in any form and 67% think that sports clubs should not have sponsors on their kits or around football stadiums
  • 72% support affordability checks to ensure people do not gamble more than they can afford
  • 69% say that online slots games should have a maximum stake of £2 a spin
  • 76% do not think the gambling industry should have a say in how the money collected for research, education and treatment is used

Carolyn Harris MP, Chair, GRH APPG said:

“Today’s rally and YouGov polling shows the strength of popular support for major reforms to our gambling laws. Too many families are devastated by online gambling and policy change is urgently needed.

The Government must not bow to pressure from Gambling Companies whose primary interest is to protect their profits. Their job is to act in the public interest. Our current legislation is analogue legislation in a digital age, online gambling is unregulated in many areas and mandatory deposit limits and affordability mechanisms are essential. Gamblers need an Ombudsman to support redress and a statutory levy must be put in place to support research, education, and treatment. The Regulator must also be overhauled. This is a once in a generation chance to improve much needed gambling regulation in this country and change cannot come soon enough.”

Lord Foster of Bath, Chair of Peers for Gambling Reform Group said

“There are around a third of a million people (including over 60,000 children) suffering from gambling harm which impacts the lives of more than 2 million other people. And tragically, there’s more than one gambling-related suicide every day.

Yet gambling companies make more than half of their profits from the 5% of their customers most seriously affected by their products. Meaningful reform of our outdated gambling regulations is urgently needed. Delay is putting lives at risk.”

Lord Grade, Chairman of the House of Lords Gambling Industry Select Committee said

“The suffering caused by gambling is very well documented. Tackling gambling harm must be a key objective of the Government’s review of gambling policy. We cannot afford to wait any longer for meaningful change and many reforms can happen without waiting for primary legislation – there is no need to delay and there is a moral duty to act now.”

Correspondence between the APPG Chair and Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy

The Chair, Carolyn Harris MP, has written jointly with Peers for Gambling Reform to the Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy to set out the APPG’s position on some critical aspects of the Gambling Review.

Correspondence between the APPG Chair and the Gambling Commission on the National Lottery

The Chair, Carolyn Harris MP, has written to the Interim Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission, Andrew Rhodes, about the Fourth National Lottery License Competition and prevention of gambling-related harm during the Third National Lottery License.

The Gambling Commission’s response can be found here.

Letter to the Minister of State for Media and Data from the GRH APPG and PGR on Gambling Advertising

The Chair, Carolyn Harris MP, has written jointly with the Chair of the Peers for Gambling Reform, the Rt Hon. The Lord Foster of Bath, to the Minister of State for Media and Data, the Rt Hon. John Whittingdale OBE MP, on the impact of gambling advertising.

The Chair’s letter can be found here, the Minister’s response here and the Chair’s reply here.

Letter to the Minister of State for Media and Data from the GRH APPG and PGR on new forms on Online Gambling

The Chair, Carolyn Harris MP, has written jointly with the Chair of the Peers for Gambling Reform, the Rt Hon. The Lord Foster of Bath, to the Minister of State for Media and Data, the Rt Hon. John Whittingdale OBE MP, following the recent session on emerging harms from online gambling.

Response from the Minister of State for Media and Data to the GRH APPG and PGR’s letter calling for an Independent Public Inquiry into collapse of Football Index

Further to our letter of 13th April to the Prime Minister in which Members of the APPG and the Peers for Gambling Reform – joined by a range of other supportive Parliamentarians – called for an independent public inquiry into the collapse of Football Index, we have now received a response from the Minister of State for Media and Data – the Rt Hon. John Whittingdale OBE MP.

Minutes from the 4th March Meeting of the APPG

Please click here to download the minutes from the 4th March 2021 Meeting of the APPG.