As you may be aware, gambling legislation is a reserved matter and in December 2020 a review of the 2005 Act was announced. This generated 16,000 responses to a call for evidence, and these will all be taken into account in setting out proposed changes.
The 2005 Gambling Act must be modernised and effective for the digital age and provide adequate protections against gambling related harms for problem gamblers and children.
According to the UK Gambling Commission and Office for National Statistics, 47% of people in the UK have gambled in some way in the last 4 weeks of those surveyed.
Most of the gambling in the UK is done without any problems or impact on wellbeing. However, for those who do face problem gambling, the impact can be harmful and addictive, with one-person everyday committing suicide in the UK because of gambling related harms.
In the UK, 2 million families are blighted by problem gambling, and there are more than 55,000 children aged between 11 and 16 who are addicted to gambling.
60% of the gambling industries profits come from the 5% who are already problem gamblers or at risk of becoming so.
SNP MP Ronnie Cowan as vice-chair of APPG on Gambling-Related Harm took evidence from a wide range of organisations and individuals, including the industry itself, but more importantly from family members of those who had tragically taken their own lives because of their gambling addictions.
Ronnie took part in the Big Step campaign which seeks to make known the harms that gambling does every single day, and the part that football advertising plays in drawing in children and normalising gambling among adults.
When the Gambling Review White Paper is published by the UK Government, the SNP will analyse whether its proposals are sufficient for addressing the rise of online 24/7 gambling to tackle child gambling; age authentication and verification; ad targeting and placement on social media and the internet; problem gambling and proposals for a voluntary Single Customer View; advertising on sports gear, and problem gambling assistance programmes as funded with Barnett consequentials.
The SNP continue to call for the replacement of the voluntary levy with a statutory “smart” levy on operators to fund research, education and treatment, as well as the establishment of a gambling ombudsman to provide an effective means for consumer redress.