Gambling industry must take ‘holistic approach’ to 2005 Act review

After the DCMS released its policy document, which aims to bring clarity to UK gambling about what the 2005 Gambling Act review will entail, industry experts began examining the terms of reference to assess how these areas may affect their respective operations.

Speaking on the ‘Unpicking the Terms of the UK Gambling Act Review‘ webinar, hosted by SBC, Brigid Simmonds, Chair of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), insisted that the gambling industry cannot be held solely accountable for problem gambling and the risks that come with betting.

With the Department of Education now looking to introduce the topic to the Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) curriculum to educate young people on the risks associated with gambling, Simmonds suggested that other sectors should step up and accept responsibility.

“One person with a problem is too many,” she stated. “We need to take a holistic approach to this. For the last 20 years, the industry has been the sole funders of research, education and treatment, and only very recently has the NHS come in and decided that they’re going to set up new centres. 

“I think they’ve set up three and there’s still £200 million there for them to set up more. I have visited the one in Leeds and what was absolutely clear from that is that many of those who have a problem with gambling have problems in other areas and this is where it’s got to be embedded in the NHS so that we help those people.

She continued: “As an industry we’ve just announced that we’re going to spend another £100 million by 2024 on funding the national helpline, on funding gamble aware and on funding the 10 million that we’ve just put into education through YGAM and GamCare and obviously the Department of Education is now involved because it’s now a PSHE requirement that you look at something around the risks. However, it can’t be left to just the industry alone so I hope that some of this will be thought through a little further.”

Moreover, David Clifton, Licensing Expert and a Director at Clifton Davies, highlighted some of the inconsistencies within the DCMS’ terms of reference. He drew particular attention to the ‘duty of care’ remit which was listed as a key caveat in the DCMS’ document.

“Nobody should now think let’s only just concentrate on the, on the review paper,” Clifton explained. “Look at what was said because there are many other clues in there in the response to the House of Lords.

“In terms of a duty of care, it’s going to be interesting to see how that one develops because ultimately, if that was to come into force, that would really be a threat hanging over not only operators, but also directors in operators. Would that bring in potential criminal liability? Underage gambling is interesting too. There is scope for parents and guardians to do more, the government has said. How that gets embodied in any regulatory or legislative requirement, I’m not entirely sure.”

The full webinar is available to watch on the SBC YouTube channel HERE.

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