GVC welcomes House of Lords report calling for overhaul of gambling laws

04 Juillet, 2020, 10:13 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • The UK's House of Lords calls for loot boxes to face gambling regulations

With the weight of a number of top sports organisations, such as the Premier League, likely to be opposed to numerous recommendations made by the House of Lords committee, it could well be a delicate balancing act between the recommendations of the committee, and what can be reasonably expected of sports betting companies and the teams and events they sponsor, that the government has to find.

However, Grade said that the Act is actually "way behind what was actually happening in the market" at the moment, but that the "overwhelming majority" of the report's recommendations "could be enacted today". "The more harmful a gambling product is, the higher the levy the operator should pay". There is much in it that we support and whilst we don't agree with every recommendation, we feel this is an important contribution to the debate and the approach the Lords took was constructive.

The creation of a statutory independent Gambling Ombudsman Service, modelled on the Financial Ombudsman Service, to settle disputes between gambling operators and gamblers.

The committee slammed the the use of lootboxes in games, but also slammed narrow definitions of what gambling is that have allowed lootboxes to flourish.

For its part and the overarching Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport reportedly told The Guardian that it is 'absolutely committed to protecting people from the risks of gambling-related harm" and intends to review the controlling Gambling Act of 2005 so as "to ensure it is fit for the digital age'. Dr David Zendle, a video game researcher, warned that there is an "extraordinarily robust" relationship between interacting with loot boxes and problem gambling.

"...the equalization of speed of play and spin, so that no game can be played quicker online than in a casino, betting shop or bingo hall."

The government should establish a system by which operators can share customer information, and if the result of an affordability check "throws doubt on whether an individual can safely gamble at the rate they have been doing", operators would be required to share this info with all other UKGC licensees, who would be "bound by it in the same way".

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The liberalisation of gambling heralded in by the Gambling Act 2005, the universal adoption of smart phones, and the ingenious and often unscrupulous exploitation of soft-touch regulation by gambling operators has created a flawless storm of addictive 24/7 gambling.

"We would now urge the Government to bring forward their planned Review of the Gambling Act without delay and to work with the industry on an evidence-led approach to future regulation".

The report said that oversight of the gambling sector needs to be strengthened.

However, the report highlighted that this wasn't entirely the regulator's fault and flagged examples of DCMS ministers failing to act on advice from the Commission.

Neil McArthur, Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission, which would be responsible for implementing any regulation changes, said he would rather stay away from regulating the gaming industry but would do so if the decision was made.

The UKGC should also demonstrate greater willingness to revoke the licenses of repeat offenders. There should also be no gambling advertising in or near any sports grounds or sports venues. Non-Premier League football would have an exemption until 2023, as would horse racing and other sports.

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