The UK gambling industry has been criticised in another parliamentary report, with the House of Lords calling for widespread regulatory changes earlier this week. 

Gambling Harm – Time for Action’ is the culmination of a year’s worth of research, with a total of 66 recommendations made. 

It accused the industry of being lacklustre with enforcing current rules, as well as exploiting problem gamblers for financial gain. 

Although the report said that millions of people across the UK have had their lives negatively affected by gambling, the majority of individuals enjoy such activities responsibly. 

Ban sports sponsorships, but not horse racing partnerships 

One of the House of Lords’ recommendations was banning all kit sponsorships for sports teams. The exception would be for clubs playing below the Premier League, with this rule coming into place for them from 2023 onwards. This is so they can “adapt to the situation” and find “alternative sources of sponsorship”. 

10 of this season’s 20 Premier League teams have gambling operators on the front of their shirts, with 17 of the Championship’s 24 clubs doing likewise. 

In addition to prohibiting shirt sponsorships, the report also wants all gambling ads in or around sporting venues to be outlawed. 

Despite wanting to cut gambling ties in numerous sports, horse racing would be exempt from such regulations. According to the House of Lords, the “extensive gaps between races” mean that customers cannot “be constantly placing bets”. Greyhound racing would also not have to adhere to these rules. 

This isn’t the first report to call for restrictions to gambling ads, especially in football. Last week, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) recommended similar changes. 

Other proposed changes to UK gambling regulation 

Also included in the report is a suggestion that online gaming affiliates in the UK should obtain a licence before being allowed to operate. This is a measure which some states in the US, such as Colorado, have already implemented. 

A new testing system has also been called for, with all games vetted against how harmful they could potentially be. This includes their appeal for children, as well as how addictive they might be. If a game scores too highly on this, it would not be allowed to enter the market. 

Is now the time to move forward with reviewing current legislation? 

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has responded to the House of Lords report. It believes that now is the time for the government to begin its review of the 2005 Gambling Act, as it had promised to do so if it won last December’s election. 

In an official statement, BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher said the following. 

“The Betting and Gaming Council welcomes the House of Lords report as a substantial and important report on the future of gambling regulation. There is much in it that we support and whilst we don’t agree with every recommendation, we feel this is an important contribution to the debate and the approach the Lords took was constructive. 

“We would now urge the Government to bring forward their planned Review of the Gambling Act without delay and to work with the industry on an evidence-led approach to future regulation.”

“As both the Government and the Gambling Commission acknowledge, problem gambling levels in the UK have remained stable at around 0.7% of the adult population for nearly two decades and we must now look at what more can be done to identify those individuals and ensure that they use the self-exclusion tools available that block them from all forms of gambling with our members.”