Gambling Harm—Time for Action Contents

Appendix 3: Call for evidence

The Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry was appointed by the House of Lords on 13 June 2019 to consider this. It has to report by 31 March 2020.

The Committee will be including in its remit the social and economic impact of the Gambling Act 2005 and related legislation.

This is a public call for written evidence to be submitted to the Committee.

The Committee is happy to receive submissions on any issues related to the subject of the inquiry, but would particularly welcome submissions on the questions listed below. You need not address every question.

Diversity comes in many forms, and hearing a range of different perspectives means that Committees are better informed and can more effectively scrutinise public policy and legislation. Committees can undertake their role most effectively when they hear from a wide range of individuals, sectors or groups in society. We encourage anyone with experience of or expertise in an issue we are investigating to share their views with the Committee, with the full knowledge that their views have value and are welcome. If you think someone you know would have views to contribute, please do pass this on to them.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 6 September 2019.

Questions

The Gambling Act 2005

1.Are the three primary aims of the Gambling Act 2005 (to prevent gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, to ensure that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way, and to protect children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling) being upheld?

2.What changes, if any, are required to bring the Act up to date with new technology and the latest knowledge about how gambling harm is distributed?

3.Is gambling well regulated, including the licensing regime for both on- and off-shore operations? How successfully do the Gambling Commission, local authorities and others enforce licensing conditions including age verification? What might be learned from comparisons with other regulators and jurisdictions?

4.Should gambling operators have a legal duty of care to their customers?

Social and economic impact

5.What are the social and economic costs of gambling? These might include costs associated with poor health and hospital inpatient services; welfare and employment costs; the cost of benefit claims; lost tax receipts; housing costs through statutory homelessness applications; and criminal justice costs.

6.What are the social and economic benefits of gambling? How can they be measured and assessed?

Levy

7.Is the money raised by the levy adequate to meet the current needs for research, education and treatment? How effective is the voluntary levy? Would a mandatory levy or other alternative arrangement be more productive and effective? How should income raised by a levy be spent, and how should the outcome be monitored? What might be learned from international comparisons?

Research

8.How might we improve the quality and timeliness of research in the UK? What changes, if any, should be made to the current arrangements for funding, commissioning and evaluating research in the UK? What might be learned from international comparisons?

9.If, as the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB)701 has suggested, there is limited evidence on which to base sound decisions about gambling by children and young people, what steps should be taken to rectify this situation?

Education

10.Is enough being done to provide effective public education about gambling? If not, what more should be done?

Treatment

11.Are the services available for the treatment and support of people at risk of being harmed by gambling sufficient and effective? How might they be improved? What steps might be taken to improve the uptake of treatment, particularly among groups who are most likely to experience harm from gambling and least likely to seek help?

12.What steps should be taken better to understand any link between suicide and gambling?

Advertising

13.The RGSB has said that by not taking action to limit the exposure of young people to gambling advertising “we are in danger of inadvertently conducting an uncontrolled social experiment on today’s youth, the outcome of which is uncertain but could be significant.”702 Do you agree? How should we make decisions about the regulation of gambling advertising? What might be learned from international comparisons?

Gambling and sport

14.Gambling is becoming an integral part of a growing number of sports, with increasingly close relationships between operators and sports clubs, leagues and broadcasters. What are the risks attached to this?

Gambling by young people and children

15.How are new forms of technology, including social media, affecting children’s experiences of gambling? How are these experiences affecting gambling behaviour now, and how might they affect behaviour in the future?

16.The legal availability of certain forms of commercial gambling to under-18s in Great Britain is unusual by international standards and has been described as an ‘historical accident’.703 Should young people between 16 and 18 be able to purchase National Lottery products, including draw-based games, scratch cards and online instant wins?

17.Should children be allowed to play Category D games machines (which include fruit machines, pushers and cranes)?

Lotteries

18.The restrictions on society lotteries were relaxed by the Gambling Act 2005, and there is concern that some of them are effectively being taken over by larger commercial lotteries. Is this concern well founded? If so, what should be done?

19.Should changes be made to the statutory regime governing the National Lottery, to bring it into line with the regime governing operators of other lotteries?


701 Now called the Advisory Board for Safer Gambling.

702 Responsible Gambling Strategy Board, Children, young people and gambling: A case for action (February 2018) p 12: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/PDF/RGSB-Gambling-and-children-and-young-people-2018.pdf [accessed 1 June 2020]




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