The All-Party Parliamentary Group has gotten in contact with the Parliament to express its concerns over the new forms of online gambling available in the UK.
Yesterday, the Group published a letter signed by Carolyn Harris, its Chair, and by Lord Foster, Chair of Peers for Gambling Reform, which was sent to the Parliament. In its letter to the authorities, the All-Party Parliamentary Group cited newer forms of online gambling, including social casinos, loot boxes, slot streaming, and e-sports betting, which it finds concerning. The Group called for the UK Government to take a closer look at the four aforementioned forms of gambling during its ongoing review of the 2005 Gambling Act.
Apart from that, the Group also shared its concern with the Parliamentary answer regarding the link between problem gambling and gambling advertising. As the letter points out, in his response to a question placed by Ronnie Cowan MP, the Media and Data Minister John Whittingdale MP referred to an old study from seven years ago. This response has later been quoted by the UK gambling industry’s trade body – the Betting and gaming Council – in the media.
Now, the All-Party Parliamentary Group shared its concern, saying that the Government needs to take an informed approach in its policy towards problem gambling and its alleged connection to increased gambling advertising. The Group further noted that the authorities should not base their entire position on the matter on one study that was carried out seven years ago.
New Forms of Online Gambling Should Also Be Reviewed by the UK Government, APPG Says
In its letter, the Group says that the UK Government needs to take into account the fact that the country’s gambling sector has dramatically evolved since the time it was liberalised, and so did gambling advertising. As it claims, other pieces of research have found a causal link between increased gambling advertising and problem gambling, suggesting some level of impact on particular groups of more vulnerable individuals.
Apart from that, other concerns were also shared by the All-Party Parliamentary Group, which has claimed social casinos and slot streaming, in particular, were massive causes of concern because they are not officially categorised as gambling activities in the first place.
The Group has quoted research data provided by various sources, according to which about 3-4% of adult Brits play in so-called social casinos. The aforementioned data also claims that 32.5 million hours of slot streams were watched on the live video streaming platform Twitch in June. On the other hand, the All-Party Parliamentary Group shared its opinion that the opportunity of placing multiple in-play bets on e-sports events could be extremely harmful.
As explained by Carolyn Harris MP and Lord Foster, the Government’s review of the 2005 Gambling Act must establish a stable mechanism for review, research and, where relevant, re-classify the four aforementioned activities as forms of gambling. The Group shared that previous failure to include the new forms of gambling in the Government’s review only proves the fact that the country’s gambling legislation is outdated and not fit to meet the requirements for the sector’s regulation in the digital era.