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DCMS Select Committee to investigate UK gaming policy

Due to "warnings that more needs to be done to protect consumers," the Digital, Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee has opened an investigation into the government's gaming regulation.

The DCMS Select Committee, comprised of 11 MPs from the Conservative Party, Labour Party, Scottish National Party, and independents, examines the activities of the DCMS and its subsidiary bodies.

The committee opened an investigation into "the government's approach to gaming regulation" today.

“The DCMS Committee inquiry will be investigating the progress the government has made in addressing the issues raised by parliament, how to ensure regulation can keep up with innovations in online gambling and the links between gambling and broadcasting and sport,” the committee said.

It added that its inquiry was prompted by “warnings that more needs to be done to protect people, including children, from gambling-related harm”.

The inquiry is now accepting evidence and will remain so until February 10, 2023.

It was revealed, with the government planning to release a white paper on the Gambling Act as part of the Gambling Act review early next year. The document, which will outline the government's reform intentions, was expected more than a year ago after the study began in 2020, but it has been delayed due to a variety of factors, the majority of which are related to personnel changes in government and the Gambling Commission.

Response of the industry to the DCMS Select Committee inquiry

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), an industry trade organisation, welcomed the investigation.

The inquiry would be a "additional opportunity for the regulated industry to demonstrate our continuous commitment to enhancing standards in safer gaming and showcasing our support for the UK economy," according to the statement.

BGC head Michael Dugher expressed optimism that the committee would provide a fair report that would recommend actions that would benefit the vulnerable rather than all bettors.

“As the standards body for much of the regulated industry, we strongly welcome this inquiry announced today as a further opportunity for the regulated sector to show our continued commitment to raising standards in safer gambling,” he said.

“I am sure that the committee’s inquiry, like the government’s gambling review, will be genuinely ‘evidence-led’ and has to strike a careful balance in making recommendations that are about protecting the vulnerable, whilst not unfairly impacting on the millions of customers who bet perfectly safely and responsibly.”

In his response to the announcement of the inquiry, Dugher also mentioned the black market as well as the economic impact of the regulated betting business.

“Problem gambling may be low by international standards at 0.3%, but one problem gambler is one too many. So we look forward to hearing from the committee about what more can be done. We must also ensure that they do not drive people to the unsafe, unregulated black market online, where there aren’t any safeguards to protect vulnerable people.

“On behalf of over 110,000 people whose jobs depend on the regulated betting and gaming industry, we also look forward to setting out the contribution industry to the UK economy and our commitment to further investment”.



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