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PRESS RELEASE: Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group Comment on Launch of Government’s Gambling Review

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Gambling Related Harm is calling for bold and significant change in the Government’s recently launched Gambling Review.

The Gambling Related Harm APPG welcomes today’s launch of the Gambling Review and is urging those that have been impacted by gambling harm to respond to this once in a generation opportunity to reform the gambling industry for the better.

The Gambling Related Harm APPG is Chaired by Carolyn Harris MP, who has been a dedicated campaigner in tackling the harms caused by gambling and has been vocal in calling on the Government to publish the long-awaited Gambling Review.

The APPG, which consists of over 60 cross-party MPs and Peers has long been concerned about the impact some parts of the gambling industry are having on at-risk gamblers, vulnerable people and importantly, children.

Carolyn Harris MP, Chair, GRH APPG said:

“I very much welcome the launch of the Gambling Review, something which I and many others have long been calling for. I hope we are at a turning point in the reform of our wholly outdated gambling legislation. Too many families are impacted by gambling related harm and we must protect those most at risk through legislation and policy change.

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 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. ”

Rt Hon Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP, Vice-Chair, GRH APPG said:

“This review is long overdue. The APPG has taken huge amounts of evidence from people whose lives have been blighted and torn apart by the terrible aftermath of gambling addiction. The deregulated gambling industry has, throughout the last few years, paid only lip-service to the nature of the damage that has been done to people up and down the country.

Despite all of the evidence, the industry has pursued people who have a serious gambling problem, incentivising them to gambling more through their terrible VIP rooms. It is quite clear that we can no longer allow the industry to regulate itself and it is time, therefore, for balance to be restored, particularly now the advent of new technology has meant that gambling has never been easier to access or promote than it is now. This review needs to be clear headed and to ensure that the nature of the regulation and the regulator is robust and clear.”

Ronnie Cowan MP, Vice-Chair, GRH APPG said:

“The Gambling Act needs an overhaul and I sincerely hope that the forthcoming review is not watered down to placate the gambling lobby. There is a long list of changes that are required to make the act fit for the digital world that we live in today.  Funding for research, support and education should not come directly from the industry. Online gambling must be heavily regulated to protect the public. Children must be not be seen as future gamblers and the aspects of games that normalise gambling must be removed.  Advertising must end. The list goes on and the U.K. Government should not expect an easy ride. Big changes are required and anything less will be a dereliction of their duty to protect the citizens of the U.K.”


Notes to editors

The APPG’s final report following their inquiry into online gambling harm, which includes the calls within the press release can be downloaded here.

The APPG is calling for:

  • 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. These schemes are highly profitable for gambling companies offering very high stakes gambling and they continue to lead to significant harm.
  • A ban on all gambling advertising.
  • A complete overhaul of gambling regulation in the UK. The Gambling Commission is not fit for purpose.
  • An urgent review of stakes, deposit and prize limits online as well as a complete review and classification of online products.
  • Affordability limits set and imposed by the Gambling Commission.
  • A Gambling Ombudsman for consumer redress.
  • A mandatory ‘smart’ levy paid by gambling operators to fund independent research, education, prevention and treatment.
  • A new Gambling Act. While some immediate changes can be made through secondary legislation and the Government should consider what changes can be made in the short-term, an overhaul of the 2005 Gambling Act is required – fit for our digital age.

The APPG conducted a year-long review last year into the impacts of the online gambling industry and has continued its work programme this year focussing on the impacts of children and gambling and has heard some heart-breaking evidence from impacted families as a result of gambling addiction.

The Group’s website can be founds here.

Members of the Committee can be found here.

For further information please contact, 07960025773.

This is not an official publication of the House of Commons. It has not been approved by the House or its committees. The views expressed in this press release are those of the group.

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.”


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


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.”


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.