Lords Committee issues evidence call for UK gambling study

3 July 2019

The House of Lords’ Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry has published a call for evidence to support its inquiry into problem gambling in the UK.

The study will focus on a number of key issues, including the current state of the industry, developments in gambling habits – in particular online gambling – and the "gamblification" of sport.

The Committee will also examine the lack of accurate estimates of the possible extent of the UK's problem gambling habit. It will explore whether the industry is contributing enough towards research, education and treatment of problem gamblers, and whether those who need help have access to such services.

As part of the inquiry, the Committee is now inviting evidence submissions from all interested individuals and organisations, with a deadline for contributions of September 6.

“We know that the effects of gambling on individuals and families can be devastating,” Committee chairman Lord Grade of Yarmouth said. “This Committee seeks further to understand the issues, in an area where concrete evidence is lacking, and to explore options for improvement.”

In its call for evidence, the Committee has asked interested parties to consider a number of questions, such as if the Gambling Act 2005 succeeded in achieving its aims of preventing gambling from becoming a crime or disorder.

Parties are also being asked if operators should have a legal duty of care to their customers, the effectiveness of the voluntary levy, what more should be done to educate the public about gambling, and future decision-making on the regulation of gambling advertising.

Lord Grade said: “The Committee is keen to receive evidence from a wide range of individuals, organisations and any sectors or groups in society effected. We encourage anyone with experience of the issues to share their views, and participate in this vital inquiry.”

This week, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Jeremy Wright said the UK government could introduce a mandatory levy if the gambling sector's voluntary funding plans do not raise enough cash to support the treatment and prevention of gambling harm.

Wright was speaking after GVC Holdings, bet365, Flutter Entertainment, William Hill and Sky Betting and Gaming followed up plans to increase funding for problem gambling treatment by setting out a plan of action to create a safer gambling environment.

The operators have agreed to raise the current voluntary contribution towards funding problem gambling from 0.1% to 1% of gross gambling yield by 2023, as announced in June. This increase will reach an annual contribution of around £60m (€66.8m/$75.5m) by 2023.

Image: David Holt