Yesterday, the UK Gambling Commission announced that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has launched the Gambling Act Review which will be the most comprehensive review on gambling since the 2005 revised Gambling Act. In addition, the regulator published the Call for Evidence into the Gambling Act 2005. This comes shortly after the UKGC reminded operators to use a copyright tool and make sure that their ads appear on legitimate websites. Besides the Gambling Act Review, the plan of the UKGC for providing a safer gambling environment includes the publication of the Strategic Assessment And Compliance Report where it presented its action plan for the upcoming period.
National Lottery minimum age raised to 18
The UK Gambling Commission has announced its long-awaited Review of the Gambling Act that will be conducted by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The DCMS has also issued a Call for Evidence that will run until March 31, 2021. It will include consultations from the general public as well as from other organizations and gambling regulators. Also, the review will include an examination of online stake limits, promotional offers and age limits, as well as the options available to consumers to take action against operators who failed to follow social responsibility requirements.
One change that has already been made as part of the Gambling Act Review is raising the minimum age for playing the National Lottery. Now, the National Lottery minimum age is raised from its current 16 years to 18. The DCMS said that the change will take effect from October 2021. In addition, the DCMS Chair mentioned the issue of loot boxes, which have been a subject of debate for some time and for which the DCMS launched a call for evidence back in September. Other subjects for review include tough affordability checks, a testing regime for new products, as well as a potential ban on gambling sponsorships in sports.
Commenting on the publication of the Call for Evidence, Neil McArthur, CEO of the UKGC, said that the Review creates an opportunity to build on the progress the Commission has made to protect the players and the public. He added that the Commission will continue their close working relationship with the DCMS as the Review proceeds. Moreover, Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for DCMS, said that the Review will ensure that they are tackling problem gambling in all its forms to protect vulnerable people and children. Also, the Review should help players to gamble safely.
BGC responds to Gambling Act Review
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), which represents most of the UK licenced gambling operators, welcomed the Gambling Act Review and urged the government to focus on protecting problem gamblers. Michael Dugher, CEO of the BGC, said that the Council called for the Review to be wide-ranging and evidence-led as it is an important opportunity to drive more chances on safer gambling.
Apart from the BGC, many other parties and organisations have supported the Gambling Act Review, including the campaign group Clean Up Gambling, whose director Matt Zarb-Cousin explained its potential to help problem gamblers. Namely, Zarb-Cousin said that this Review can make Britain a world leader in gambling harm prevention, where systems are put in place to prevent unaffordable losses.