UK Government Officially Stars Review of 2005 Gambling Act
The UK government has now decided to start a long-awaited review of the 2005 Gambling Act.
In the UK, many officials have been calling for a review of the 2005 Gambling Act for quite some time. The government has finally announced that this review will now begin. Considerations will be made regarding stake limits for players as well as how the Gambling Commission will serve the industry. New restrictions on advertisements will also be considered. At the same time, the National Lottery will change its minimum playing age to 18.
Call for Evidence
To start the review process, the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has begun a call for evidence. They will review stake and spending limits as well as new rules for advertising and promotions. The review will also consider adding more protections for younger adults. The evidence portion will continue for 16 weeks, ending on March 31.
Findings from the review will then see planned changes occur to the Act. The DCMS said that the findings will be used to inform of any changes to the act that will ensure consumer protection is the focus of the regulations. At the same time, the changes will ensure that players have the freedom to gamble safely.
As part of the review, the role of the Gambling Commission will be considered. Decisions will be made as to what powers the Commission should have to be able to keep up with the licensed sector. The black market also needs to be tackled.
The Commission has been heavily criticized by the Public Accounts Committee as well as the National Audit Office. The group has been called not fit for purpose and under-resourced.
National Lottery Minimum Age Change
Another change coming in the UK regarding gambling involves the National Lottery. The minimum gambling age will increase from 16 to 18 by October 2021. The age limit is not included in this new review but the DCMS will be holding a consultation on the matter before it starts.
The age change was made due to the game portfolio of the lottery having changed significantly since it started back in 1994. More players are gambling online and money is being spent on instant games. During the first six months of the 2020-2021 fiscal year, the digital revenue for Camelot came in at £1.73bn.
This amount is almost half of the overall sales. Players are logging online now more than ever, with mobile sales increasing by over 50%. Instant win games bring in the most funds, as they are the most popular game among players.
Nigel Huddleston, the Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage, commented that the government is committed to protecting young people when it comes to gambling related harm. This is why the age limit is changing. The goal is to ensure the National Lottery remains a low-risk option for gamblers and does not become a gateway for addiction.
For the past few years, continual changes have occurred in the UK to provide protection for players in the gambling industry. Back in 2018, the Commission revealed plans to reduce the maximum stake that would be allowed on fixed-odds betting terminals. In the past, players could wager up to £100. Now, that total is £2.
New age and identification requirements were introduced in 2019 and earlier this year, credit cards were banned for gambling. These changes were made to provide further protection for players, be it for security purposes or to protect from gambling harm.
Gamblers in the UK will have to wait until March of next year to see what the review uncovers and if any additional changes will take place in the country regarding gambling restrictions or regulations.