The chairman of Peers for Gambling Reform Lord Foster urged the government to stop dithering and implement the necessary gambling regulatory changes as soon as possible.
Urgent Changes to Outdated Laws
The chairman of the cross-party executive committee issued a call to the authorities while speaking to BBC Points West, emphasizing the need for “urgent changes” to address the country’s “out of date” gambling laws.
“It’s worth remembering that the legislation that provides the regulation around gambling was introduced before the first smart phone was invented.”
With a history of lobbying for tighter regulations for the gambling industry dating back to 2004, the former Bath MP was adamant the government has already dithered too much in bringing the much needed reforms for the sector that is the cause of so many personal tragedies.
“The government have delayed and dithered bringing forward the much-needed reforms which is why we are having to really get these reforms as quickly as possible.”
According to the House of Lords, over 300,000 people in the UK suffer from problem gambling of whom 55,000 are children. Further, a problem gambler commits suicide every day and about 2 million people are affected by this.
The Magnitude of Gambling Harm
Lord Foster, who is well aware of the magnitude of the issue having personally met with many families which have lost a loved one, was vocal as to what needs to be done to respond to the absolutely massive growth in gambling due to mobile phones.
“It’s analogue legislation in a digital age,” Lord Foster concluded, taking aim at the gambling industry and its massive advertising spend to groom customers.
With over £1.5 billion ($2 billion) in annual spending on advertising, football shirt rights and television promotions, the gambling industry has been present everywhere and campaigners want tighter advertising restrictions to be imposed, including spending caps.
Proponents for tighter industry regulation also insist on the implementation of affordability checks as a means of curbing excessive gambling by forcing operators to self-regulate. And those are most likely to be introduced after the government releases the White Paper for the ongoing Gambling Act 2005 review this spring.
The Peers for Gambling Reform cross-party committee was the main influence behind an amendment to the Armed Forces Bill which required all gambling machines to be removed from military bases but the practical application of the commitment of the Ministry of Defence is yet to be completed.