BBC: UK Government Expected to Tighten Regulation on Gambling

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:

As if things haven't gotten worse enough, they are about to it appears.

The United Kingdom is about to present new reforms in the gambling sector.  These include such things as affordability checks on punters to make sure they have the money to lose.

From the BBC's Katie Razzall:

Intense lobbying behind the scenes has gone on in recent months, to shape what will be the first significant piece of legislation on gambling in nearly 20 years and since the invention of smartphones.

This white paper has already been pushed back at least four times, with delays caused by changes in prime ministers and the revolving door of the secretary of state for culture (there have been eight in five years).

Last July, the review was in Boris Johnson's Downing Street for approval, the final stage before announcement. Instead, it was shelved as Johnson's premiership faltered.

One of those reforms includes something revisited on Monday February 20: Tighter controls around advertising and marketing and, in particular, a potential ban on shirt sponsorships in the Premier League.  It is looking more and more likely they the league is set to agree voluntarily on such a ban.

In recent weeks, behind the scenes, charities and parliamentarians who want changes have been piling on the pressure.  There are efforts to push for more transparency and even the addition of firewalls.

"With online gambling, there are no barriers in place," consultant psychologist Matt Gaskell tells the BBC.  He is the clinical lead for the NHS Northern Gambling Service.

"Typically, our service users are gambling from the moment they wake up in the morning in their bed. They take their phone into the bathroom with them, they take it in the car.

"They're gambling at work and they're gambling when they return home and they can keep it very secret even from their loved ones."

It is estimated that there are between 250,000 and 460,000 problem gamblers in Great Britain.

- Gilbert Horowitz,

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