The DCMS criticises the UKGC and proposes changes

Viktor Vangelov | Published 29 Jun 2020, 2:44 p.m.

We have reported on the gambling situation in the UK and the activities of the UK Gambling on a number of occasions. We have also reported on the situation in the US and it seems that the situation is going in opposite directions in the two largest English-speaking countries.

Namely, the number of US states that are legalising and regulating sports betting and online gambling in general is growing, whereas on the other hand, the UK Gambling Commission is imposing heavier restrictions. Earlier this month, operators pledged to donate £100 million to deal with problem gambling.

Last year the UK Gambling commission imposed a £2 limit on FOBTs, whereas the previous limit was as high as £100. Nowadays it has been reported that there are plans to improve additional restrictions. The issue has been reported in the press in the past few weeks. The Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee also had a sessions on the matter and the conclusions were quite interesting.

The Gambling Commission hasn’t done enough, feels the DCMS

The Committee and some of its members think that the Gambling Commission as well as the Government haven’t reached a real understanding of the gambling harm, it has been reported. It was also reported that there are no serious targets to tackle problem gambling and enable problem gamblers to overcome their problems.

In the report it is also stated that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and its representatives have been complacent. The UKGC on the other hand insists that player protection measures have been tightened. Of course, the Gambling Commission is aware that there is more to do and that the Commission will keep pushing this agenda.

The report concludes that the issue is serious and that, generally speaking, prevention is better than cure and this has not been reflected in the approach taken by government authorities and the Commission.

On the other hand, there is no readiness to accept the idea that the budget should be increased in order to prevent gambling harm and support problem gamblers. Those who are opposed to gambling and have a generally anti-gambling attitude point to the fact that the Commission receives only £19m, whereas the industry’s revenue exceeds £11 billion.

The Gambling Act will likely be amended

According to the report it is estimated that there are almost 400,000 people in the UK who have a gambling problem, but about 1.8 million people are at risk. The report concludes that the effects of problem gambling are grave. The Chair of the Committee, Meg Miller feels that the commission has to be reformed.

Miller feels that the regulator isn’t really interested in helping people and there isn’t enough effort to achieve the planned results, i.e. to alleviate the harms of problem gambling. The Commission, she feels that the UKGC should be overhauled radically, it should respond quickly to problems and issues. A spokesperson for the Department said that they are completely committed to protect people from gambling harms and the associated risks.

The Gambling Act will most likely be amended that it will be ensured that it is fit for this day and age, i.e. the digital era.

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