Westminster Media Forum

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The future for gambling regulation

March 2021

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

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

This conference will examine key policy priorities for supporting the growth of the UK hydrogen industry, and next steps for scaling up infrastructure.

The agenda focuses on the development of:

  • the domestic infrastructure, manufacturing and skills base
  • policy, market rules and incentives
  • commercialisation in energy, heating, power generation and transport
  • funding and investment
  • the role of hydrogen in the energy mix and industry decarbonisation into the future

The discussion is bringing together stakeholders with key policy officials who are due to attend from BEIS; the DIT; the Department for the Economy, NI; the Environment Agency; the NAO; The Scottish Government; UK Export Finance and the Welsh Government.

The agenda:

  • The UK gambling sector today
  • 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 gambling harms - 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 the key 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:
      • age restrictions - banning under 25-year-olds from joining VIP schemes
      • spending and safe gambling checks - requiring that all customers undergo checks before becoming eligible for such schemes
      • with the Select Committee highlighting figures that 60% of sector profits come 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:
      • exposure to promotional material - 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
      • increased use of alternative payment methods - following the recent credit card ban, including such methods 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 enable them to effectively respond to changes
  • market developments and prospects for the UK gambling sector:
    • sustaining the gambling industry in the UK:
      • some gambling companies having left the UK - due to changes to licensing rules and overseas regulatory environments being seen as more favourable, causing concern
      • options for incentives - encouraging 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, and 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 harnessing the potential of data to support vulnerable web users
  • women and gambling - with the Gordon Moody Association, a gambling addiction support charity, reporting a 76% year-on-year rise in the number of women seeking help through their services
  • BGC introduces tough new rules on gambling social media posts by top football clubs - under the new Betting and Gaming Council code of conduct, football clubs would not be allowed to link to gambling websites on organic tweets from their social media feeds

Policy officials attending:                                            

Places have been reserved by parliamentarians from both Houses of Parliament, and officials from DCMS; DHSC; the National Audit Office; the Competition and Markets Authority; the Department for Communities NI; and the Department for Health NI. Also due to attend are representatives from Advertising Association; Advice NI; ALERTS; Apricot Investments; Ara Recovery 4 All; Arena Racing Company; Betsmart Consulting; Betting and Gaming Council; Betting Gods Malta; Betway; Bird & Bird; Blueprint Gaming; CAF; Camelot; CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang; Discovery; Fingleton; Flutter Entertainment; Francis Taylor Building; Gamcare; GAMSTOP; Google; Gordon Moody; Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity; GREO; Harris Hagan; Ince Gordon Dadds; Inclusion - Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust; Institute of Alcohol Studies; Kemp Little; KPMG; Luxury Leisure / RAL; Moto Hospitality; Northridge Law; Novomatic UK; People's Postcode Lottery; Petfre (Gibraltar); Playtech; Premier League; Racehorse Owners Association; Reflex Gaming; Safer Online Gambling Group; Safer Online Gambling Group (SOGG); School of Law, University College Cork; Southern Health and Social Care Trust; The Centre for Social Justice; TRS; UK Tote Group; University of Nottingham; ValueAct Capital; WaterAid and Win Technologies.

Press passes have been reserved by representatives from the BBC; EGR; Sport for Business; The Telegraph; VIXIO GamblingCompliance and VIXIO Regulatory Intelligence.

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

This pack includes

  • Dropbox video recording of the conference
  • PDF transcript of the discussion, including all speaker remarks and Q&A
  • PDFs of speakers' slide material (subject to permission)
  • PDFs of the delegate pack, including speaker biographies and attendee list
  • PDFs of delegate articles