Westminster Media Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

The future for gambling regulation

Morning, Thursday, 25th February 2021

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference focuses on the future for gambling regulation.

Areas for discussion include:

  • legislation - priorities for the planned Government review of the Gambling Act 2005, and options for regulatory reform
  • problem gambling - options for tackling problem gambling, and protecting children, young people, other vulnerable groups, and public health
  • the gambling sector - market developments, and the impact of emerging forms of gambling

The discussion is bringing stakeholders together with key policy officials who are due to attend from DCMS; DHSC; NAO; the House of Commons Library; and the Department for Communities NI.

The agenda:

  • Today’s UK gambling sector
  • Gaming and gambling and next steps for regulation
  • The Gambling Act review and priorities for modernising legislation
  • Regulation and the risks posed by emerging forms of gambling
  • Addressing problem gambling - affordability, factors impacting vulnerability, prevention and treatment, and reducing barriers for accessing help
  • Online gambling - under-25 restrictions to VIP schemes, advertising, safe product design, and the relationship with the sports industry and sponsorship
  • Sustaining the Gambling industry in the UK
  • The National Strategic Assessment and way forward for gambling regulation

Key areas for discussion:

  • review of the 2005 Gambling Act:
    • options for reform - assessing key the range of recommendations for the sector, such as those laid out in the recent House of Lords Select Committee inquiry, which included calls for:
      • a system to be created for measuring the addictiveness and appeal to children of new gambling games, and for games scoring too high on the scale to not be allowed on the market
      • speed of play and spin to be equalised so that games cannot be played quicker online than in person
      • establishment of a Gambling Ombudsman Service to settle disputes between operators and gamblers
      • a ban on the advertising of gambling operators on sports team kit or in or near sports venues
      • clinics for treating problem gambling to be rolled out before 2023, and for plans to be put in place for further sets of such clinics to be established
    • impact on the gambling sector - assessing the effect of regulatory changes including: the introduction of a £2 maximum stake on FOBTs, a ban on online gambling with credit cards, and the ruling that only sites using a UK license will be allowed to operate in the UK
  • tackling problem gambling:
    • high-spending customers - assessing actions taken by the Gambling Commission aimed at addressing the incentivisation of ‘VIP’ customers:
      • banning under 25-year-olds from joining VIP schemes
      • requiring that all customers pass checks on spending and safe gambling before becoming eligible for such schemes
      • with the Select Committee highlighting figures that 60% of sector profits coming from 5% of problem gamblers or those at risk
    • the evidence base - with PHE and the NHS having begun classifying problem gambling as a public health matter, but with comparatively low evidence on the causes and consequences:
      • how can researchers and local authorities improve understandings of factors leading to gambling addiction
      • in what way can social services be directed towards addressing the root causes before they manifest in problem gambling
    • planning and population health approaches - assessing policy options for managing local clustering of gambling opportunities, including FOBTs and high street bookies
    • protecting young people - latest thinking on preventing the development of gambling addiction in children and adolescents, with discussion expected on sports-related marketing:
      • assessing proposals on reducing the exposure of children and young people to gambling advertisements
      • gaming and its relationship with gambling - options for addressing the potential for video game loot boxes to encourage gambling in children
  • the future of regulation:
    • regulatory proportionality and agility - the capability of the regulatory framework to keep up with developments, including emerging risks in online and mobile gambling, including:
      • the rapid evolution of the gambling industry as the sector continues to respond to changing consumer habits and technological developments
      • the recent credit card ban being followed by increased use of alternative payment methods such as cryptocurrency and e-wallets
    • the Gambling Commission - assessing recommendations by the NAO:
      • a review of the licence fee model of funding for the Commission to increase its ability to invest in new skills and resources
      • for the Commission to be given more powers to effectively respond to changes
  • market developments and prospects for the UK gambling sector:
    • sustaining the gambling industry in the UK:
      • with concern over some gambling companies having left the UK due to changes to licensing rules and overseas regulatory environments being seen as more favourable
      • options for incentives for operators to stay in the UK, and the future involvement of overseas companies in the UK gambling sector, and what it means for the market
    • market dynamics - the impact of the UK leaving the EU, future of M&A activity, and opportunities for exports and international partnerships

Relevant developments and research:

  • COVID 19 and its impact on gambling - further data from the Gambling Commission showing the renewed tightening of COVID-19 lockdown measures leading to increased gross gambling yield (GGY), and a 7% increase in active accounts
  • Review of the Gambling Act 2005 - announced by DCMS to ensure gambling laws are fit for a digital age:
    • looking at potential protections for online gamblers such as stake and spend limits, alterations to advertising standards and promotional offers
    • examining the powers and responsibilities of the Gambling Commission
    • raising the age for purchasing tickets for the National Lottery from 16 to 18 from October 2021
  • the first ever National Strategic Assessment by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) - looking at key issues, such as the risks gambling presents to consumers and the public, and options for addressing them
  • Loot boxes in video games - call for evidence - as the DCMS examines the relationship between in-game player reward containers and problem gambling
  • reports on gambling regulation, including:
    • Gambling Harm - Time for Action - with recommendations from the Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry
    • Gambling regulation: problem gambling and protecting vulnerable people - the NAO:
      • finding that less is known about gambling problems than other addictions
      • making recommendations for the Gambling Commission
    • Online Gambling Harm Inquiry - by the Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group with a range of recommendations on stakes, marketing, and legislation and regulatory reform
  • The Online Harms White Paper - with proposals for improving the accountability and oversight of tech companies, including for ensuring safe online gambling
  • The National Data Strategy - setting out plans for data use and data protection in the UK, and harness the potential of data to support vulnerable web users
  • women and gambling - gambling addiction support charity the Gordon Moody Association reporting a 76% year-on-year rise in the number of women seeking help through their services

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by parliamentary pass-holders from the House of Commons, and officials from DCMS; DHSC; the National Audit Office and the Department for Communities NI.

For this conference, we expect speakers and further attendees to be an informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government officials involved in this area of public policy, together with fellow regulatory bodies, bookmakers, lottery operators, casinos, gambling software providers, sports clubs and associations, advertising agencies and platforms, regulatory lawyers, local authorities, stakeholders involved in public health, gambling addiction and related mental health and financial advice services, consumer groups and charities, video game developers and platforms, as well as consultancies and academics, others with an interest in these important issues, and reporters from the trade and national media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Andrew Lyman

Executive Director and Gambling Commissioner, HM Government of Gibraltar

Adam Rivers

Director, KPMG Economics

Brigid Simmonds

Chairman, The Betting and Gaming Council

Neil McArthur

Chief Executive, Gambling Commission


Lord Foster of Bath

Chair, Peers for Gambling Reform

Rt Hon the Baroness Armstrong of Hill Top

Member, House of Lords Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry Select Committee


Scott McGregor

COO, beBettor

Dr Trudy Smit Quosai

Chief Executive Officer, GREO

Dr Mark Griffiths

Distinguished Professor of Behavioural Addiction, Psychology Department, Nottingham Trent University

Jack Symons

Co-Founder and Director, Gamban

Professor Henrietta Bowden-Jones

Director, National Problem Gambling Clinic

Ewen Macgregor

Partner, TLT Solicitors

Anna Hemmings

Chief Executive Officer, Gamcare

Neil Banbury

General Manager, Kindred Group