Peers for Gambling Reform seeks action to alter ‘outdated regulation’

Peers for Gambling Reform, one of the largest groups within the House of Lords across all sections, and which secured 150 members in a matter of days, has launched with the primary goal of campaigning for reform of the gambling industry.

The group, which encompasses all sections of the House of Lords, will work in parliament, and with others, to promote the recommendations of the House of Lords Select Committee on Gambling to ensure that Government and the Gambling Commission take early action to implement changes to regulation that are deemed necessary.

Peers for Gambling Reform is being chaired by Lord Foster of Bath (Liberal Democrat), with vice-chairs including Lord Smith of Hindhead (Conservative), Baroness Armstrong (Labour), Lord Butler (Crossbench), and the Bishop of St Albans.

Lord Foster of Bath said: “Given that we have a third of a million problem gamblers, including 55,000 children, and one gambling-related suicide every day, action is urgently needed. Online gambling companies have cashed in on the pandemic, making more profit and putting more lives at risk. 

“This new group of 150 peers from across all sections of the Lords seeks to ensure urgent action is taken by the Government to reform our wholly outdated regulation. It is time for action.”

Peers for Gambling Reform says that it “will be pressing for early and radical action by Government to redress the wrongs that are being done, particularly as the Government moves towards its Gambling Review”.

A number of priorities has also been drawn up by the group which say that there should be:

  • Effective affordability checks for gamblers to prevent harm.
  • An enforceable ‘duty of care’ on the gambling industry to seek to avoid harm.
  • Speed of play and stake limits for online gambling, with a triennial review of all stake limits.
  • Testing for harm and the classification of all new gambling products.
  • A mandatory ‘smart’ levy on the industry to fund the costs of research, education and treatment.
  • A ban on direct marketing and all inducements and an end to sports sponsorship.
  • A Gambling Ombudsman to redress wrongs.
  • Gambling regulation for loot boxes.
  • A Reform of VIP schemes.
  • An NHS-led and commissioned treatment system to treat gambling addiction.

Lord Grade of Yarmouth, chair of the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry Committee, added: “I am delighted to support Peers for Gambling Reform, which has been formed to press for the implementation of the recommendations of the Select Committee which I chaired. 

“These are recommendations which need urgent implementation if the harm suffered by problem gamblers and their families is to be alleviated. Most of the recommendations can be implemented without primary legislation; they cannot wait for the long-promised government review of the Gambling Act. I send the group every good wish in taking forward this vital work.”