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 I hope we are at a turning point in the reform of our wholly outdated gambling legislation.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.