Another Parliamentary Group Ready to Take on the UK Gambling Industry

September 22nd, 2020 2.00pm

It looks like the gambling industry in the UK could soon suffer yet another blow. The newly-created group in the House of Lords, called the Peers for Gambling Reform (PGR), wants to act as a new gambling regulatory body and has already announced its plans to review the current legislation and suggest reforms in this area. Since the Government has been imposing tighter regulations over the last couple of years, it’s almost certain the new parliamentary group will continue such practice.

Lord Foster of Bath will lead the group as its chairman. Lord Smith of Hindhead, Lot Butler, Baroness Armstrong and the Bishop of St Albans will serve as vice-chairs, while the group will include nearly 150 members of the House of Lords.

Are They the Industry’s New Adversary?

Lord Smith has been in his position since 2009 and is widely known for his anti-gambling stance. He fervently opposed the introduction of fixed-odds gaming machines, and was one of the proponents of the £2 limit on FOBTs, imposed back in 2018.

According to Lord Foster of Bath, the situation in the UK calls for urgent action. He pointed out that PGR was created to provide solutions, as the country faced more than 300,000 problem gamblers and one suicide-related to gambling every day.

Lord Foster explained that the new group of 150 peers would make sure the Government took action to reform the country’s existing gambling regulation.

The inception of the new group coincides with the Government’s recent attempts to overhaul the current gambling legislation and upgrade the 2005 Gambling Act. PGR will review different aspects of the industry but will pay special attention to the way gambling companies deal with problem gambling. We can also expect the group will suggest changes in taxes, while some of its members have already announced they would assess the policies used by casinos and operators to target VIP gamblers.

At this moment, the entire industry is somewhat concerned about the recent events, which will no doubt influence the country’s gambling environment.

BGC Supports the Changes

Michael Dugher, Chief Executive at the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has been trying to control the situation. Commenting on the creation of PGR, he pointed out the BGC supported the regulatory changes in the UK’s gambling industry.

Dugher said that the majority of adults in the UK, who like to gamble from time to time, do so in a safe way. That’s around 30 million Britons who enjoy the Lottery, bingo, casino, sports betting and gaming. He did agree that reform of the sector was needed, and added the BGC would support any reasonable suggestion from the new parliamentary group.

Dugher further said the BGC had already welcomed the report on the impact of the gambling industry, published by the House of Lords committee earlier this year.

However, Dugher is aware the current situation can’t be changed and wants to make sure the BGC and its members work together with lawmakers on reforming the gambling sector. He pointed out the members of the BGC had been behind the recent introduction of the ban on betting advertisements during live sports programs, which had so far proven to be very successful.

Additional, much stricter measures will go into effect from October 1. They are aimed at preventing minors from being able to see betting advertisements on television. Dugher said the BGC was looking forward to working closely with the Government on the upcoming review of the country’s gambling regulation. The end goal is to create a safe environment for players and to fully protect those in need of protection, such as minors and problem gamblers.



The UK gambling regulations to be reviewed by the new parliamentary group