Thank you for writing to me about gambling.
I appreciate your strength of feeling on this matter, and I recognise that gambling can become a serious problem for some.
Gambling operators must be licensed by the Gambling Commission and comply with the accompanying conditions. In 2019, the Gambling Commission introduced new rules to ensure operators verify customers’ age and identity details quickly and robustly. Furthermore, in 2020, the Government and Commission provided further protections, including a ban on credit card gambling and making participation in the self-exclusion scheme GAMSTOP mandatory for online operators. (For further information on GAMSTOP, visit https://www.gamstop.co.uk/)
I am delighted that the Government recognises the Gambling Act 2005 as an analogue law in a digital age. I am aware that a review of the Act was launched in 2020 and examines online restrictions, marketing and the powers of the Gambling Commission. Further protections for online gamblers, such as stake and spend limits, are also being explored, as well as whether extra protections are needed for young adults re. sports betting. It is my understanding that the Government plans to set out its findings in a White Paper in due course.
Like you, I am very concerned at how many cases we hear of operators failing to meet their duties to protect people re. affordability checks
With regard to the case of the NHS worker, who was wrongly allowed to set a deposit cap of over 90 per cent of their monthly income, I echo the Minister's words that this is simply not right. It should not take a £9.4 million fine by the Gambling Commission after the event to bring the online gambling company in question to justice, because it should not happen in the first place.
It is my understanding that the Gambling Commission is looking at the role technology and data can play in preventing harm from arising, and I will follow developments closely. Furthermore, the Gambling Commission will soon publish its enhanced requirements for customer interaction, thereby making sure gambling operators are doing proper checks, and the Government will take these new requirements into account when publishing their review too.
I do think that it should be kept under close and regular review.
Thank you again for writing to me.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking