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Advice to Government - Review of the Gambling Act 2005


I am submitting a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 for access to all correspondence and working reports related to the "Advice to Government - Review of the Gambling Act 2005". Please include documents spanning from January 2020 to the present.

The documents should specifically contain any of the following keywords:

  • White paper
  • Problem gambling
  • Betting operator

If this request is likely to exceed the FOIA cost limits, please provide guidance on refining it to comply with the appropriate parameters, or consider offering a summary of relevant documents.


Thank you for your request which has been processed under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

In your email you have requested access to all correspondence and working reports related to the "Advice to Government - Review of the Gambling Act 2005" including documents spanning from January 2020 to the present.

You have specified that the documents should contain any of the following keywords:

  • White paper
  • Problem gambling
  • Betting operator

Firstly, it should be noted that the Gambling Commission has published its Advice to Government, which is available to view and download from the Commission website:

Advice to Government - Review of the Gambling Act 2005

I can confirm that the Commission does hold information falling within the scope of of your request. However, the level of detail you have requested would result in an extremely large volume of potentially relevant records being returned on any search. This information is not stored in a central location and requires a manual review across several Gambling Commission information storage areas, including high volumes of email correspondence.

Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) makes provision for public authorities to refuse requests for information where the cost of dealing with them would exceed the appropriate limit, which for public authorities, such as the Commission, is set at £450. This represents the estimated cost of one person spending 18 hours in determining whether the department holds the information, locating, retrieving and extracting the information.

We estimate that it would take in excess of 18 hours to determine appropriate material and locate, retrieve and extract any relevant information in reference to your request as there is a high volume of records which may contain relevant information and would need to be checked individually.

When a public authority applies the Section 12 exemption to a request, the FOIA guidance specifically states that a public authority should avoid providing any information found as a result of a search as it denies the requestor the right to express a preference as to which parts of the request they may wish to receive within the appropriate time limit. Guidance on the application of section 12 can be viewed here:

Requests where the cost of compliance exceeds the appropriate limit (opens in a new tab)

If you are able to narrow your request, we may be able to provide some data by working up to the time limit.

Until we are able to process the search and retrieval of the information you have requested, that can be provided within the statutory time limit, we are unable to ascertain if other exemptions will apply to the material retrieved, which would also prevent disclosure.

Please note, any refined request would be processed as a new request and the 20 working day statutory time limit would apply.

Review of the decision

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your Freedom of Information request you are entitled to an internal review of our decision. You should write to FOI Team, Gambling Commission, 4th floor, Victoria Square House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B2 4BP or by reply to this email. 

Please note, internal review requests should be made within 40 working days of the initial response. Requests made outside this timeframe will not be processed.

If you are not content with the outcome of our review, you may then apply directly to the Information Commissioner (ICO) for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have already exhausted the review procedure provided by the Gambling Commission. 

It should be noted that if you wish to raise a complaint with the ICO about the Commission’s handling of your request for information, then you are required to do so within six weeks of receiving your final response or last substantive contact with us.

The ICO can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office (opens in a new tab), Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Information Management Team
Gambling Commission

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