It has been over a year since the Conservatives committed themselves to a gambling reform as part of their electoral manifesto and after months of deliberation, the much-anticipated 2005 Gambling Act Review has finally arrived. For years now, a coalition of MPs from both partners, peers, and passionate campaigners have highlighted the need for a gambling legislation reform that many believed to be maligned. As a result of this, harmful gambling practices have made their way onto the country and caused confusion and conflict between industry stakeholders and the government. The government is now finally going ahead with the review that it promised in November 2019.
Advertising and Marketing
The Gambling Act of 2005 contained very liberal advertising rules for operators in the UK, which permitted advertising of all gambling industry products. In recent years there has been an increase in online advertising with operators focusing most of their efforts on grabbing the attention of internet users. Research that was conducted by GambleAware showed that the gambling industry spent about £1.5b on marketing and advertising in 2017, with 80% of this total being used to fund advertising online. The government has previously mentioned that it is aware that advertising and marketing from casino operators have become a significant revenue stream for advertisers, marketing firms, and broadcasters. As such, the government is inviting these stakeholders to submit evidence to this end as well as allowing concerned parties to provide evidence of the harms associated with advertising.
The Framework and the Commission
The government has publically announced that to do a full review of the law, it needs to understand the full scale of the issues. This will allow them to determine whether the Commission has enough power under the regulatory framework to address them and allow online sites, such as Casimba casino and others, to continue their operations in the country. Speaking of which, Casimba has to adhere to a strict set of rules. They have to operate fairly and ensure that payouts are within reason. This all forms part of the licensing agreement between an online casino and licensing body or authority.
The government is also trying to get a better understanding of obscure issues that have been lurking in the background of the industry for some time such as the virtual black market and malpractice. It has also been noted that the government understands the need for a balance between player enjoyment and consumer protections. As such, an in-depth analysis of the industry will be conducted that spans the last 15 years since the initial law was passed. The call for evidence will be used to justify amendments made to the law that will be beneficial to both operators and consumers.
As part of the plans to reform the gambling law, the government plans to change the minimum age for participating in the National Lottery to 18 from 16. This change will take effect from October next year, and is canvassing for evidence relating to this alteration. Michael Dugher, Chief Executive of the Gaming and Betting Council, stated that although the problem gambling percentage is currently one percent, one problem gambler is one too many. He concluded by saying that he hopes the Ministers will be able to pinpoint the areas of great risk and alter them to mitigate the social harms.