DCMS to Launch Gambling Regulation Committee
The Department of Digital, Media, Culture, and Sport (DCMS) has launched a select committee that will look closely into the government’s approach towards gambling regulation.
This move comes after the government department received harsh criticism for not doing enough to safeguard vulnerable people, including children, from gambling-related harm.
Some of the most vocal censures are coming from the National Audit Office, the House of Lord Committee, and the Public Account Committee. All have agreed that the DCMS has been taking the wrong approach and needs to apply more action to prevent problem gambling. To date, the problem gambling rate in the United Kingdom is at 0.3%, according to the UK Gambling Commission.
This new select committee will be looking closely at the government’s progress towards handling the concerns raised as well as how the regulation can keep up to date with the latest advances in technology.
There has also been a call for evidence by the committee, which requests organisations to submit written evidence on a number of topics, including key priorities, which should feature in the upcoming white paper of the Gambling Act 2005 review. Amongst other topics, there is the scale of problem gambling in the UK as well as any issues that may arise from operators which are based outside of the United Kingdom.
DCMS Committee member Julie Elliott MP said: “Gambling acts as an enjoyable pastime for large numbers of players, but regulation is struggling to keep pace with the rapidly changing way in which it happens today. This puts people at risk of the devastating harm it can sometimes cause to lives.
The DCMS Committee’s inquiry will look at the scale of gambling-related harm in the UK, what the government should do about it and how a regulatory regime can best adapt to new forms of online gambling, based both in and outside the UK”, she added.
This latest move by the DCMS implies that the white paper is due to be published in the new year, following a number of personnel changes at Westminster.
The Betting and Gaming Council has wholeheartedly welcomed the announcement of the new committee as a good opportunity to showcase its ongoing commitment to boosting safer gambling standards and showcasing support for the UK economy.
Michael Dugher, the BGC CEO, said: “As the standards body for much of the regulated industry, we strongly welcome this inquiry announced today as a further opportunity for the regulated sector to show our continued commitment to raising standards in safer gambling.
I am sure that the committee’s inquiry, like the government’s Gambling Act review, will be genuine ‘evidence led’ and has to strike a careful balance in making recommendations that are about protecting the vulnerable, whilst not unfairly impacting on the millions of customers who bet perfectly safely and responsibly”.