Monday, 4 May 2020

Gambling Related Harm All Party Group Calls For End To Gambling Ads

Gambling Addiction

The Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group (GRHAPPG) has called for an end to all gambling advertisements amid the COVID-19 lockdown.

The plea was made in a letter sent by Chair of the GRHAPPG Carolyn Harris MP to Brigid Simmonds, the Chair of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC). In the letter, Harris urged the group to expand on its recent announcement to suspend all gambling advertisements on TV and radio during the UK’s lockdown.

Harris’ letter was shared on the GRHAPPG Twitter account with a statement urging for more to be done to protect vulnerable people. The letter, which was also sent to the UK Gambling Commission, welcomed the BGC’s recent ruling on gambling ads and stated it was “glad” the group had “finally” taken steps to protect vulnerable people one month after the GRHAPPG raised issues over advertisements.

The letter continued by asking the BGC for additional information regarding its announcement on the suspension of gambling advertisements. In a series of bullet points, the letter asked the BGC for the following information:

  • The evidence used in the lead up to the announcement of the suspension of gambling ads
  • Data on the number of users gambling, the number of VIPs, and the types of games played in the last three months and the same time last year
  • Reasons why the BGC made the decision now to suspend gambling ads rather than a month ago when lockdown began and concerns were first raised
  • Clarification on whether or not these restrictions will continue after lockdown

Protect Vulnerable Gamers

The final bullet point urged the BGC to impose a similar gambling ad, promotion and marketing ban on social media and affiliate marketing. The GRHAPPG then listed a series of recommendations the BGC can take to further protect vulnerable people. The suggestions included the implementation of deposit limits during the lockdown, a £2 stake limit on video slots, an end to VIP accounts, and an end to all gambling advertisements and welcome offers.

Carolyn Harris MP and the GRHAPPG also urged the BGC to share data to allow research to be undertaken to assess the “scale of harm being caused by the industry” as well as the “need to further harm prevention measures”. The GRHAPPG the letter by writing: “At this time, it is incumbent on us all to do everything we can to support people’s safety and wellbeing, to support our society, protect the vulnerable and to put public interest ahead of gambling companies’ profit.”

The news comes after the Parliamentary All-Party Betting and Gaming Group announced they were launching an investigation of the UK’s Gambling Act 2005 to ensure that it is relevant in today’s social climate and kept updated to the technical developments made since it was first enforced. Meanwhile, the UK Gambling Commission has announced a look into new regulations on VIP accounts, casino game mechanics, and more.