Insights UK Gambling Minister tells Betting and Gaming Council’s Annual General Meeting that Government hopes to publish White Paper on its Gambling Act Review “in next few weeks”

In his speech at the Betting and Gaming Council’s (BGC) Annual General Meeting on 26 January 2023, the Gambling Minister, Paul Scully MP, recognised the contributions that BGC members make to the UK economy, but said that reforms are needed to ensure that gambling regulation protects consumers from harm in the digital age.

Mr Scully recognised the importance of the entertainment sectors in boosting the economy of local areas by providing jobs and attracting tourism and acknowledged that online businesses provide high skill tech jobs across the country. He also accepted that most customers who engage with gambling businesses do not suffer ill effects and that, when considering gambling policy, it is important to remember the social and entertainment benefits that these customers receive.

However, Mr Scully also said: “There are, to be blunt, still too many failings happening”.

Mr Scully said that some customers “continue to slip through protections and are allowed or even encouraged to spend too much. Some go on to suffer real and serious harm, including taking their own life in extreme cases”.

Mr Scully also commended the action the BGC has been taking to address the risk and that the Gambling Review is “a real opportunity to make sure we have the balance right”.

Mr Scully said that he expects the White Paper to be published “in the next few weeks” so that businesses will have regulatory certainty and can get on with implementing reforms. He also stressed that the White Paper “is not the final word” and will be followed by consultations by both the DCMS and the Gambling Commission.

Without pre-empting the details of the White Paper, Mr Scully said that, in terms of “affordability checks”, the Government will not be telling people how much of their salary they are “allowed to” spend on gambling. Mr Scully preferred the term “financial risk checks”.

However, financial harm is not the only indicator that should be considered, Mr Scully said, stressing that operators must use “all the information they have on customers and their wider risk profile to inform the right interventions”.

Overall, Mr Scully said, the Government wants to make “common sense changes to update the rules, preserving safeguards that do protect against gambling harm, but replacing unnecessarily restrictive controls with ones which make things better for customers and businesses”. To read Mr Scully’s speech in full, click here.