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Our overarching recommendations to Government

Whilst we consider that the core elements of the Gambling Act 2005 remain valid, there are two overarching recommendations for Government that need to be central to any package of reforms. There is a need for both:

  • urgent legislative change, alongside regulatory change
  • significant investment and greater flexibility in the regulator’s resources.

Need for legislative change, alongside regulatory change

The Review is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver further substantial strengthening of the current regulatory framework which needs to deliver against progressive innovations in product offerings and an evolving market. We recognise that the Gambling Commission will have an essential role to play in delivering many of the outputs of the Government's Review through changes to our regulations and through the exercise of our regulatory powers. However, the pace of reform will be driven by ensuring effective use is made of all the statutory and regulatory levers available under the Act.

It is therefore essential that Government considers making appropriate use of legislative changes including the powers of the Secretary of State to make licence conditions, alongside the Commission’s powers to make conditions and enforce changes to regulations.

Need for significant investment and greater flexibility in the regulator’s resources

To deliver an effective regulatory system, there is a need for significant investment and greater flexibility in the resources of the regulator. The pace of reform and success of the Government’s Review will also be driven by the resources and funding that is available to the Commission.

It is therefore essential that the drive to substantially strengthen the regulatory framework is accompanied by an equivalent strengthening of investment in the Commission’s capacity and resources and in its ability to flex its resources to meet emerging risks. There have been some steps to address the significant funding gap that the Commission has faced with a recent fee increase, but this needs to be built upon and accelerated. Even to continue to deliver current regulatory standards requires additional resources and greater flexibility to meet the challenges of regulating a complex, and dynamic market.

Maintaining momentum

Whilst the Review progresses and any legislative changes make their way through Parliament, it is important that we do not lose the regulatory momentum we have built over recent years.

The Commission will continue to use its existing resources as effectively as possible to keep driving up standards in the gambling industry. We will focus on making more effective use of industry data as a regulatory tool alongside implementing a more robust and timely approach to measuring participation and prevalence of problem gambling. We will continue to invest in the skills and capabilities we need to respond to the challenges of regulating an increasingly global and complex market. We will also enhance our co-operation with our international regulatory colleagues to address many of the risks that come from overseas unlicensed operators.

How our recommendations and actions will continue to make gambling fairer and safer

The Government’s Review of the Gambling Act 2005 has been extremely wide-ranging. We have set out a detailed package of recommendations for Government and actions that we as the regulator will implement. These are summarised in our Package of recommendations for Government and commitments for action by the Gambling Commission, and explained further in the sections on each topic.

Where we make commitments for ongoing action, we are committed to doing so through effective consultation processes. We will work closely with Government to ensure close cooperation on our ongoing programme of work and on the outputs of the Review.

The package of measures which we will implement or which we recommend includes protections that apply at each stage of the consumer journey, which will make gambling products inherently safer but also support and empower customers to control and manage their gambling and to seek redress where things go wrong. Therefore, our recommendations are designed to strengthen regulation in the following ways:

  • making the provision and marketing of gambling safer
  • further empowering consumers
  • improving the effectiveness of the overall system and tightening legislation which leaves consumers exposed in modern times.

The following highlights some key recommendations and actions from our advice.

Make the provision and marketing of gambling safer

Our key recommendations and actions include.

We recommend an increase of age limits to 18 years of age for lotteries, football pool betting and slot-style gaming machines. We also recommend that Government introduces stake limits for online slots.

Alongside these legislative changes, the Commission will consult on a significant package of measures on online gambling to include identification of financially vulnerable customers and to tackle unaffordable gambling, alongside increased protections for young adults.

Where bonus offers are made available, we will also consult on restrictions to ensure they do not encourage excessive gambling.

Further empower consumers

Our key recommendations and actions include.

We recommend that an ombudsman should be introduced to allow consumers greater and more transparent access to redress and that this must have legislative underpinning.

We will consult on further empowering the consumer through the role of deposit limits, and to enhance protections to enable customers to choose when they receive direct marketing.

Improve the effectiveness of the overall system

Our key recommendations and actions include.

We seek critical additional powers to tackle illegal gambling without delay and the ability to invest in data and data driven compliance. There is also a need for urgent secondary legislation to tighten legislative provisions which are being exploited by a novel market, putting consumers at risk.

Alongside this, there is a need to implement long-term, sustainable, non-voluntary funding structures for wider research, and for prevention and treatment, though the model for each of these may vary.

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The importance of the Review
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Package of recommendations for Government and commitments for action by the Gambling Commission
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