Gambling harm APPG details evidence sessions for igaming inquiry

13 March 2019

The Gambling Related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has released details about a series of sessions where the public, organisations, industry bodies and academics can give evidence to support its inquiry into the harms associated with online gambling.

Announced last month, the study will focus on the full impact of online gambling, as well as the addictive nature of some products in this market and the effect on vulnerable people, including children.

The group is now seeking wider opinion from across the industry and will host a number of oral evidence sessions as part of the inquiry, with the aim of assessing harms caused by igaming and, from this evidence, set out recommendations and remedies to address such issues.

Group chair Carolyn Harris MP, along with vice-chairs Iain Duncan Smith MP and Ronnie Cowan MP, will meetings with former online gamblers, the national self-exclusion scheme GamStop, financial institutions and academics to discuss these issues.

The first session will take place at Portcullis House in Westminster in London on March 27, with individuals whose lives have been negatively impacted by online gambling invited to give evidence. This will see former online gamblers, the founders of the gambling suicide charity Gambling with Lives Liz and Charles Richie and Dr Claire Mills of brain injury association Headway. 

The second and third sessions – on April 24 and May 8, respectively – will focus on the current provisions available to problem and at-risk gamblers to prevent harm related to igaming. Representatives of banks Barclays, Starling and Monzo, all of which have launched features to block transactions to gambling sites, have been invited. Also invited to speak at the session are credit checking agency Experian, GamStop chief executive Fiona Palmer, and a representative of competing, paid-for gaming site-blocking software provider GamBan.

The list of invitees for further sessions are yet to be published. 

At the fourth gathering on June 12, the group will hear evidence from various parts of the gambling industry, particularly the remote gambling sector, while the fifth and final session on July 3 will focus on the current regulatory and policy landscape.

Individuals planning to attend the opening session later this month are urged to contact the group as soon as possible.

The Gambling Related Harm APPG was formed earlier this year after the existing Fixed Odds Betting Terminals APPG announced that it was to expand its reach in order to focus on tackle a wider range of issues linked to gambling.

The move came after the original group had successfully campaigned for the maximum stake on FOBTs to be lowered from £100 to £2.

Labour MP Harris retained her role as group chair, with support from vice-chairs Iain Duncan Smith MP of the Conservatives, the Scottish National Party's Ronnie Cowan MP, Conservative peer Lord Chadlington and Democratic Unionist Party MP Jim Shannon.