APPG calls for UK advertising ban amid list of sweeping changes to online gaming

By Iqbal Johal

The Gambling-Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has called for sweeping changes to online gaming in the UK, including a ban on all gambling advertisement and £2 ($2.53) stake limits for online slots.

The recommendations were published as part as a report into online gambling harms by the group, comprised of more than 50 cross-party MPs and peers, following an inquiry which began in March 2019, based on over 10 public evidence sessions and meetings with the Gambling Commission.

As well as suggesting there should be a blanket advertising ban and a £2 online slot limit, the APPG also called for a complete overhaul of the Gambling Commission, calling it “not fit for purpose”.

The group said the regulator is struggling to “keep pace with the fast-growing industry” and believes it’s behind a lot of other countries, with limited online restrictions in comparison.

It mentioned the need for a new Gambling Act, suggesting the Government should consider short-term changes to overhaul the 2005 Act, to make it “fit for our digital age.”

A ban on all VIP schemes was also put forward, so too a review of stakes, deposit and online prize limits, and affordability limits set and imposed by the Gambling Commission.

Another recommendation was restricting in-play sports betting to venues or via the telephone, to bring it in line with regulation in Australia.

While the group says it’s not anti-gambling, the fact the Gambling Commission estimates there are 395,000 problem gamblers in Great Britain means it believes it should be treated as a public health issue.

APPG chair, Carolyn Harris MP, said: "This multi-million pound industry has destroyed people’s lives.

"They resist change at every turn and claim to be reforming themselves but put forward limited changes. We cannot ignore this any longer. Urgent change is needed to stop this industry riding roughshod over people’s lives."

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