The Government has launched its review of gambling law, which could see the most significant changes to the advertising and running of the industry since the introduction of the 2005 Gambling Act.
Proposals from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) include a potential ban on sports sponsorship, new regulation of online gambling, a new consumer ombudsman and checks on whether gamblers can afford their losses.
The Government also announced that the minimum age to play all online gambling games will be raised from 16 to 18 in April 2021, with the age rising for the National Lottery in October 2021.
‘Tackling problem gambling’
One of the most significant areas of review will be tackling the “gamblification” of sports, as the DCMS considers banning sports sponsorships outright.
Currently, over half of the clubs in the Premier League and Championship are sponsored by gambling firms, with a recent survey showing that two thirds of fans believe ‘there’s too much gambling advertising in football’.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden called the Gambling Act “an analogue law in a digital age” and said the review “will ensure we are tackling problem gambling in all its forms to protect children and vulnerable people”.
Carolyn Harris MP, chairwoman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Related Harm, welcomed the review as a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to reform online gambling and the law surrounding it.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group Christians in Parliament stressed that there was a “moral duty to reform the sector and reduce the pervasive harm that arises from gambling”.
Currently, an estimated 400,000 individuals, including 55,000 children, are addicted to gambling.