Let's Clean Up Gambling
Gambling is a mess. Our outdated gambling laws, written before smartphones or even wi-fi existed, mention betting by post more often than they do online gambling.
Whilst Britain leads the world in the standards it upholds in many sectors, our gambling regulation fails to protect consumers.
We were behind the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, which lobbied successfully for the maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals to be reduced to £2 as spin.
Through Clean Up Gambling, we are now calling on the government to hold a comprehensive review of the Gambling Act as soon as possible.
A review of the Gambling Act was promised in the Queen’s Speech, which is the government's programme for Parliament. That review needs to happen, and it must be comprehensive in scope so the wide-range of issues with our current laws can be resolved, including:
- an absence of stake, speed and effective deposit limits online
- the prevalence of gambling advertising, promotion and sponsorship
- the deficiencies in research, education and treatment
- and not fit for purpose regulation
The current laws have failed to keep pace with how gambling is rapidly changing. Mobile gambling has increased exponentially, as has the harm associated with it, but the gambling products offered aren't even regulated as much as land-based gambling.
New forms of gambling, such as loot boxes, don't fall within the scope of the current laws either, due to the outdated way gambling is defined.
Digital products like packs on FIFA Ultimate Team require a wager on the basis of a random generation of a player. Some players are much more valuable than others and, as a result, huge amounts of money are spent chasing a digital item of value.
Given loot boxes are not regulated as gambling, there are even lower levels of consumer protection - such as having access to your chances of winning - available to those engaged with the product.
For this reason, the definition of gambling should be changed to a wager for something of value rather than "money or something of money's worth".
As technological changes will begin to accelerate rapidly, we must have a regulatory framework that can react quickly to ensure oversight of newer forms of gambling.
But the framework must also change for what our laws already consider gambling. Clean Up Gambling will expose the impact of those laws and push for a government review to clean them up.