The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has commenced the long-awaited review of the 2005 Gambling Act. 

All current terms will be reviewed, with any changes intended to bring the act up-to-speed with today’s technological realities. 

A review of the legislation was promised as part of Boris Johnson’s campaign for the 2019 General Election. 

Call for evidence to last until the end of March 

The review will start with a call for evidence, which began yesterday. One talking point is the potential of a similar stake limit for online slots as exists for land-based betting terminals. Gambling sponsorships for sports teams have also been a hot topic, with the House of Lords calling for a ban on the practice. 

There will be definite changes to certain National Lottery regulations. The age limit for buying a ticket will rise from 16 to 18, for example, which will come into effect next year. 

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), meanwhile, has already called for evidence to ensure that gambling operators can protect vulnerable people in relation to VIP schemes.

New rules for loyalty programmes were introduced in October 2020, necessitating that operators ensure prospective VIPs are spending affordably, that there is no evidence of existing or potential gambling-related harm, that all customer records are up to date and that ongoing checks for signs of gambling harm are carried out for individuals.

Operators must also install a senior executive with a personal management licence (PML) to manage the site’s VIP scheme and oversee adherence to the new regulations.

Changes are likely  

Oliver Dowden, Secretary of the State for the DCMS, said that the gambling industry has “evolved at breakneck speed”. He had the following to say about the review. 

“Whilst millions gamble responsibly, the Gambling Act is an analogue law in a digital age. From an era of having a flutter in a high street bookmaker, casino, racecourse or seaside pier, the industry has evolved at breakneck speed. 

“This comprehensive review will ensure we are tackling problem gambling in all its forms to protect children and vulnerable people. It will also help those who enjoy placing a bet to do so safely. 

“This builds upon our clear track record of introducing tough measures to protect people from the risk of gambling harm – banning the use of credit cards, launching tighter age verification checks and cutting the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals.”

In addition to gambling advertising bans, others have suggested that operators who sponsor sports teams in the UK should be required to have a physical presence in the country.

As reported by the Guardian, other areas under consideration include extra funding for problem gambling treatment through a compulsory gambling levy – as well as “legal redress for wronged punters”. 

More of a focus on fighting against unregulated operators

As part of the Gambling Act review, the UKGC’s current powers will also be reconsidered. The government wants to make sure that it’s able to “keep pace with the licensed sector and tackle the black market”.