The Betting and Gaming Council says that it is looking forward to working with the government on the forthcoming Gambling Review, as it aims to “go further” in the race to the top on industry standards.
The comments come in response to the launch of the Peers for Gambling Reform, with Michael Dugher, CEO of the BGC, re-emphasising a commitment to drive changes across betting and gaming.
The newly launched 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.
A number of priority areas have initially been drawn up by the group, which state that there should be effective affordability checks for gamblers to prevent harm, speed of play and stake limits for online gambling, a ban on direct marketing and all inducements and an end to sports sponsorship, gambling regulation for loot boxes and a reform of VIP schemes.
Dugher said in response to the launch: “As the new standards body for the regulated sector, the BGC is committed to driving big changes in the regulated betting and gaming industry.
“It is important to remember that the vast majority of the nearly 30 million UK adults who enjoy an occasional flutter every year, either on the lottery, bingo, sports, casinos or gaming, do so perfectly safely.
“But one problem gambler is one too many and that is why – like the new peers’ group – we also support reform. It is also why we welcomed the House of Lords committee report into the social and economic impact of the gambling industry earlier this year.”
Adding: “Since being set up last year, the BGC have introduced a range of measures to ensure we are leading a race to the top on standards. These include cooling off periods on gaming machines, encouraging deposit limits, closing off VIP schemes to under-25s and massively increasing funding for research, education and treatment.
“At the start of the COVID lockdown, BGC members voluntarily removed all TV and radio advertising, and have agreed that at least 20 per cent of those ads will be safer gambling messages going forward.
“Our members also introduced the whistle to whistle ban on TV betting ads during live sports programmes, which has reduced the number seen by young people at those times by 97 per cent. And from 1 October, tough new measures will come into force to further prevent under-18s from being able to see betting adverts.
“We want to go further, however, and that is why we look forward to working with the Government on the forthcoming Gambling Review.”
Peers for Gambling Reform is 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.