Parliamentary All Party Betting & Gaming Group launches its own Gambling Act review

Ahead of the future UK government review of the Gambling Act 2005 (announced in December last year), the Parliamentary All Party Betting & Gaming Group (“APBGG”) – that describes itself as “the only All Party Group to support the whole UK gambling industry” – has today (22 April 2020) announced that it is launching its own such review

Like the Gambling-Related Harm APPG (“GRH APPG”), the APBGG is an informal group of Members of both Houses of Parliament with a common interest in particular issues. Its members are listed here. However, the industry will hope for a a very different appraisal of the current gambling landscape from the APBGG than that published in November 2019 by the GRH APPG.

The APBGG’s press release reads as follows:

The Parliamentary All Party Betting & Gaming Group launches its Review of the Gambling Act 2005

Pre-empting the review to be launched by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport at some time in the future, the only All Party Group to support the whole UK gambling industry launches its own review, to ensure an evidence-based submission can be submitted to the government. All industry stakeholders are invited to contribute.

Westminster, London: Today, the Parliamentary All Party Betting & Gaming Group (APBGG) announced the launch of its Review of the Gambling Act 2005. Motivated by the Conservative Party’s 2019 General Election manifesto statement that ‘the Gambling Act is increasingly becoming an analogue law in a digital age. We will review it’, the APBGG has decided to undertake a review of the legislation and consider what future changes may be needed to keep the law relevant to the technical and social changes that have occurred since its conception.

The APBGG will take written evidence from all interested stakeholders and hold a series of meetings with experts from all sections of the industry and supporting organisations.

Given the current lock down conditions, the Review will take place online. All industry stakeholders are invited to visit the APBGG’s website where they can partake in a survey and submit written submissions.

The Group will also initially host four Zoom webinars where a panel of APBGG members will interrogate key witnesses on the topics of A Public Health approach to Gambling, Gambling and Football, The Marketing of Gambling and Is the Gambling Act 2005 Fit For Purpose? Invited industry members will be able to join as spectators. The APBGG is in the process of agreeing dates and speakers but would also like to hear from anyone who feels they can contribute to the debate based on their professional expertise. Based on the success of the first four meetings, the Group may well hold additional webinars.

The output of the Review will be a report written by the Group that will be submitted to DDCMS as part of their review of the Act. The Group expects the first webinar to take place in May 2020 and the final report published in the Winter.

Upon launching the Review, Philip Davies MP, Co-Chair of the Parliamentary All Party Betting & Gaming Group said:

“As Co-Chairman of the All Party Betting and Gaming Group, I believe it is essential that any review of the 2005 Gambling Act is based on evidence. The purpose of these sessions to help inform the government in their work in this area. We want to listen to the legitimate concerns people have of the gambling industry as well as ensure the industry gets a fair hearing as well. I am determined that we listen to a wide range of views and make evidence based recommendations which will ensure we enhance our global reputation as having the best regulated gambling industry in the world”.

The Parliamentary All-Party Betting & Gaming Group was set up by a group of Parliamentarians, who had taken part in the numerous debates on what would become the Gambling Act 2005. They wished to continue their interest in the British gambling industry and have over the years become respected as some of the most knowledgeable Parliamentarians on the subject.

Members of the Group are often the main contributors to any gambling debate in either House and their views are highly regarded in Westminster, Whitehall and Downing Street. The Group maintains a view that gambling should be legal and well-regulated but beyond that, encompasses a wide spectrum of beliefs into the extent and scope of gambling provision that should be allowed. Above all the Group wishes to engage with the stakeholders in the UK gambling industry, learn from them to educate the debate, while maintaining an independence of views.

The above-mentioned stakeholders’ survey can be accessed here.

As stated above and on its website, the APBGG is planning to arrange four virtual meetings on the following topics (with speakers, dates and times to be confirmed in due course):

Meeting 1: A Public Health approach to Gambling

  • What does this mean and how would it be different to what went before?
  • On what basis was this change in approach taken?
  • The National Strategy to Reduce Harms – what does this mean for the industry?
  • Research, education and treatment – what is required (and how will it be paid for)?
  • Do we have an actual itemised and costed budget for what is required?
  • Will a regulatory Levy solve this?

Meeting 2: Gambling and Football

  • What are the benefits and disbenefits of gambling sponsorship?
  • What is wrong with streaming?
  • Gambling and sporting events – what does history tell us?
  • Are sporting integrity issues inevitable?
  • Can gambling and football work to the benefit of both?

Meeting 3: The Marketing of Gambling

  • What advertising is ‘acceptable’?
  • What evidence is there that advertising leads to problem gambling?
  • Should affiliates be more regulated?
  • VIP programmes – what is legitimate, and what is not?
  • Isn’t the issue about banning gambling advertising really just a case of ‘out of sight – out of mind’?

Meeting 4: Is the Gambling Act 2005 Fit For Purpose?

  • How is the Gambling Act not ‘future proofed’ (with the exception of casino licensing)?
  • What is conceptually different now then from when it was written?
  • What needs adding?
  • What needs taking away?
  • Is there an easy fix?