A parliamentary committee headed by Lord Grade, an ex-BBC chairman, which is currently investigating and assessing the impact which the gambling industry has issued a call for evidence.
The Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry is looking through areas such as the Gambling Act of 2005, the relationship between sports and gambling, as well as funding for research, education, prevention and treatment of gambling addiction. The House of Lords’ Committee is asking various questions related to the effectiveness of the existing Gambling Act, the possible need of an update to reflect the dynamic industry, etc.
Apart from that, the Select Committee is set to dig into the social and economic costs of gambling on the British communities, the effectiveness of the voluntary levy paid by gambling operators to fund problem gambling and treatment programs. The negative social impact of gambling on British residents would be another part of the questions which are being asked by the Committee, especially when it comes to links between gambling/gambling advertising and suicide, as well as the links between sports and gambling operators.
Lord Grade explained that the members of the Committee are aimed to check on the effects which gambling has on British residents and families and which, according to the Committee, could be “devastating”. So, the Committee seeks to get a better perspective of the issues associated with problems related to increasing popularity of gambling in the country.
Gambling Operators Are Facing Criticism from Anti-Gambling Campaigners
Submissions to the call for evidence are set to close on September 6th, with the Committee expected to issue a report on the matter by the end of March 2020.
The inquiry rolled out by the Committee is one of the investigations which have lately been issued into the British gambling industry. Back in June, a new probe into the relationship between crime and problem gambling was rolled out by the Howard League for Penal Reform. In addition, Tom Watson, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party is heading another review for his party, focused entirely on online gambling and gambling-related harm.
For years, gambling operators in the UK have been blamed for becoming more attractive to local people. Some of them have also been criticised for deliberately targeting vulnerable and underage individuals who could be seriously affected by gambling-related harm. A number of the largest gambling operators have also faced criticism for their expensive marketing campaigns, especially compared to the relatively small (or, in some cases, absent) voluntary contributions to problem gambling charities, for their links with sports, and a bunch of other issues which have been considered problematic.
At the same time, the local gambling industry has grown in popularity, and retail operations are slowly being digitalised, with online gambling becoming a more preferred form of gambling in the country. The investigations initiated by various political groups, anti-gambling campaigners and organisations come at a moment when the UK Government has been focused on sticking to stricter measures in terms of the local gambling sector in order to prevent more serious gambling-related harm to be faced by communities.