Not all is well in the UK gambling sector. The newly created Peers for Gambling Reform (PGR) will surely step in its way.
This peer-led group in the House of Lords has the intention of serving as a watchdog over the industry. It would review operations and make recommendations for government reforms.
Lord Foster of Bath is the first chairman. Vice chairs are Lord Smith of Hindhead, Baroness Armstrong, Lord Butler and the Bishop of St Albans, Alan Smith, as well as about 145 more House of Lords members.
Of note, Lord Smith has a known die-hard anti-gambling stance and is opposed to fixed odds gaming machines. He was behind the push to a £2 ($2.59) limit on these machines.
According to Lord Foster of Bath on the subject of PGR,
“Given that we have a third of a million problem gamblers, including 55,000 children, and one gambling-related suicide every day, action is urgently needed.”
The pandemic has been kind to online gambling sites, but this means putting more lives at risk.
“This new group of 150 peers from across all sections of the Lords seeks
to ensure urgent action is taken by the Government to reform our
wholly outdated regulation. It is Time for Action.”
In addition, PGR comes at a time when the government is seeking to upgrade the country’s gaming laws, including the 2005 Gambling Act.
The group plans to review the hot topics of how operators control gambling addiction, the speed of play, current stakes limits, as well as marketing and loot boxes.
It is likely to make recommend new taxes and ways to monitor the recruiting of VIP gamblers.
This is all part of a current upheaval in the UK’s gambling industry. The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), through CEO Michael Dugher, is hoping to keep things from getting out of control.
“The BGC is committed to big changes in the regulated betting and gaming industry…the vast majority of the nearly 30 million U.K. adults enjoy an occasional flutter every year, either on the lottery, bingo, sports, casinos or gaming and do so perfectly safely. But one problem gambler is one too many and…we support reform.
Per Dugher, the BGC will work with legislators on the problems.
“Our members also introduced the whistle to whistle ban on TV betting ads during live sports programmes, which has reduced the number seen by young people at those times by 97 [percent]. And from 1 October, tough new measures will come into force to further prevent under-18s from being able to see betting adverts. We want to go further, however, and that is why we look forward to working with the Government on the forthcoming Gambling Review.”