The Gambling Industry is currently regulated by The Gambling Commission on behalf of the government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) under the Gambling Act 2005. The act was introduced with the intention of providing protection to children and vulnerable adults as well as bringing the newly emerging internet gaming and gambling sectors within regulation.
At the time of its implementation there were few that would have anticipated the rapid development and growth of both the online gaming and gambling industries to the level at which they operate today. Thankfully, the 2005 Gambling Act is in line for a review following an announcement in the Queen’s speech in December 2019 in which the Government was asked to ‘carry out a review of the Gambling Act, with a particular focus on tackling issues around online loot boxes and credit card misuse’. Our hope is that the new Gambling Act will bring in legislation that does indeed protect children and those vulnerable people who are at risk of developing a gambling disorder.
It is reported that approximately half of all adults in Britain participate in some form of gambling. Whilst a high proportion may be able to exercise control over their levels of gambling, without adverse effect on other areas of their life, worryingly there are growing numbers of people who are not able to exercise this control. There are an estimated 400,000 that suffer from a gambling disorder with a further 1.8 million considered to be at risk. Licensed gambling has grown by £4.1 billion, a 57% increase, in the last decade and in the last three years gambling operators have spent half a billion pounds, a 56% increase, on marketing and advertising. The exploitative nature of how the gambling market operates and is promoted means that unless there is a serious review of the Gambling Act, we are at risk of seeing even further devastation and destruction in both individuals and their family’s lives.