The UK Government is considering banning sports sponsorships as part of its upcoming review of the Gambling Act 2005.
A new report from The Guardian has suggested that the UK Government is set to begin its long-awaited review of the Gambling Act 2005 and current gambling laws on Monday with a call for evidence.
As concern about gambling continues to rise, the UK Government is looking to overhaul current gambling laws and implement new rules and regulations which could change the industry completely.
Sources told the Guardian that officials at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), which is spearheading the review, are looking into all areas of gambling, with a big focus on online gambling.
With users allowed to bet unlimited amounts at online casinos, the Government will reportedly look into limiting the maximum stakes that can be made online and will consider whether operators should be required to limit their customers’ monthly losses. The DCMS is reportedly also looking into implementing tighter affordability checks to ensure that people don’t overspend.
In addition, the review will reportedly look into a strict testing regime on new gambling products which could determine whether they can be released within the UK and how much users can wager on them.
The review will also look into the advertising and marketing of gambling with the Government considering a ban on sports sponsorships due to ongoing concerns of how they expose gambling to vulnerable people, including minors.
Promotions and bonuses will also be analysed under the review. The Guardian claims that the Government is not satisfied with the UK Gambling Commission and the industry’s joint effort in regulating casino bonuses, free bet promotions, and VIP schemes which have grown controversial due to their involvement in stories about problem gamblers.
As reported by the Guardian, the DCMS will not look at the lack of funding for gambling addiction treatment or the rising concern on the availability of help for people suffering from gambling-related harm. Instead, the task will be left for the Department of Health and Social Care.
Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston is expected to oversee the review, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson may be heavily involved too. The review into current gambling laws is set to begin next week, and terms of reference will be published around the same time to provide an insight into what might be changing.
The Government’s review into the Gambling Act 2005 comes amid rising concern over the impact of gambling on society. Over the last few months, both the UK Gambling Commission, which is responsible for regulating all forms of gambling in the United Kingdom, and the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) have worked to raise standards within the industry.
This year alone, the UKGC banned the use of credit cards for both online and offline gambling. In October, the Gambling Commission announced new rules to stamp out VIP malpractice by limiting the age of people who can take part, requiring operators to carry out more affordability and harm checks, and to appoint a senior executive with a Personal Management License to oversee the running of VIP schemes.
Meanwhile, the Betting and Gaming Council, which was founded last year, has been responsible for the implementation of a whistle-to-whistle ban on gambling advertisements during televised sports, and worked with the Gambling Commission earlier this year to introduce a new code of conduct on the design and play of video slots.
The two organisations were also heavily supportive of this year’s Safer Gambling Week, and have worked to introduce new rules and regulations to online casinos during the Coronavirus pandemic as part of a move to better protect players from harm.
Just this week, the BGC praised the results of its 10-pledge COVID action plan which was introduced back in March at the start of the UK’s national coronavirus lockdown. BGC members agreed to follow the plan in March and reaffirmed their commitment when England entered its second lockdown.
Under the plan, BGC witnessed an increase in the number of gambling operators displaying and sending safer gambling messages to customers as well as an increase in the number of interventions undertaken by operators on customers who had spent more time or money gambling than before lockdown.
Gambling charities have also been working to protect players, with Gamban announcing a new partnership with organisations GamCare and GamSTOP to offer its self-exclusion solution for free to anyone experiencing gambling-related harm.
Gamban, a service which allows uses to block gambling websites and apps across all of their devices, previously required users to pay a £2.49 monthly subscription or £24.99 on a yearly subscription to use.
According to iGamingBusiness, Gamban’s new partnership with GamCare and GamSTOP come after the service partnered with Lloyds Banking Group, the owner of Bank Of Scotland, Halifax and Lloyds, to provide customers of the banking group with free access to the service.
Under the new partnership with GamCare, the service has now been made available for free. People suffering from gambling-related harm must speak with one of GamCare’s National Gambling Helpline advisors to claim the service for free, and users already subscribed to Gamban can also claim the service for free by speaking with an advisor.
The news comes after GamCare announced the launch of two new studies to offer deeper insight into gambling behaviour as well as additional information on the widespread effect of gambling-related harm to people and local authorities.
GamCare’s study into online gambling behaviour will be conducted jointly with London’s City University as well as research agencies Ignition House and LAB. The study will involve two qualitative studies of 20 or more people who had gambled in the last six months, each of which will be interviewed on their experiences and habits while gambling online.
The charity’s second study, meanwhile, will be conducted with King’s College London and will see the organisations developed a “trigger” question to identify how many people across the United Kingdom are affected by gambling-related harm and what the cost of treatment services are to local authorities.