Gambling Addiction Group Labels UK’s 2005 Gambling Act as “Outdated”

Dec 12

An organization keen on helping alleviate gambling addiction has urged for legislation to be restructured, as it believes that the UK’s 2005 Gambling Act is outdated and no longer fits its goals.

Lord Chadlington — who heads the group — is in charge of a £100m (or $131m) fund donated by the five largest gambling firms in the UK to battle gambling addiction. This money is being kept by independent charity Action Against Gambling Harm, which would dole out the funds to problem gambling initiatives.

Speaking on the necessity or refreshing legislation, Lord Chadlington had these to say: “Current legislation is not fit for purpose in 2020 because when it was drawn up in 2005 we had about 18% internet penetration in the country and now we are at over 90%, so there is very little in the act that deals with online.”

He also thinks that there is a substantial dearth of research into the dangers that are associated with online gaming, especially when it comes to children. He also believes video games may be a gateway for children to gamble when they grow up.

Back in July, the UK’s five largest gambling firms pledged to donate £100m (or $131m) between 2020 and 2023. These companies comprise 60% of the entire gambling market in the UK.

After the final donations in 2023, the firms would also donate 1% of their annual revenues to different initiatives problem gambling initiatives. This would produce funds of around £60m (or $79m) each year.

Lord Chadlington is accompanied on the committee by Liz Ritchie, a woman whose son took his own life because of his gambling addiction. Tracey Crouch is also on the committee. She was at the forefront of calls for the max stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) to be cut when she was the UK’s sports minister.

The committee made the call to create a charity named Action Against Gambling Harm. The committee would appoint a board of trustees as well as a finance director and a chief executive.

Lord Chadlington also said that this new charity would be completely independent of the gambling sector. Any gambling companies that lobby for funds would be excluded from receiving grants in the future.

There has been a group effort by MPs in the UK to curb the influence of the huge gambling companies. One of the initial moves done was the introduction of a max stake of £2 (or $2.63) on FOBTs. The previous max stake for these addictive machines was set at £100 ($131).

Profit for betting shops with these betting terminals have considerably decreased. More than 1,000 betting shops have shut down since the max stake was introduced. MPs are now pushing for a similar max stake of £2 ($2.63) to be enforced for online casino games.