GambleAware ‘Deeply Concerned’ About Delays to Important White Paper

admin 25/07/2022
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The UK’s leading charity on gambling safety, GambleAware, has raised concerns about delays to the government’s gambling White Paper caused by disruption around the Prime Minister’s exit.

The charity that works to reduce gambling harm in the industry made its position clear via a statement from its Chief Executive, Zoë Osmond.

The statement read: “We are deeply concerned by the risk of further delays to the gambling White Paper. Failure to act now puts more people at risk of gambling harm and only exacerbates what is an increasingly serious public health issue. We are concerned that the combination of the growing cost of living, ongoing impact of the pandemic and rise of online gambling may be creating a perfect storm, meaning more people are at risk of suffering gambling harm.”

The statement continued: “We and other third sector organisations need a committed and consistent approach to funding. This would ensure future certainty and stability to provide support and treatment, prevent further gambling harm and make more people aware of the risks of gambling.”

Also raising concern about the harm that these delays could have to the gambling public is BACTA, the British Amusement Catering Trade Association. Their CEO John White said: “Any potential further delay would come at an increasingly difficult time for the industry, with rising energy prices and inflation damaging these often small and family-run businesses. A recent survey of BACTA members revealed that recruiting and rising prices were very top concerns.”

GambleAware has said that one of the reforms that should be put forward in the new paper should be a mandatory levy to fund research, education, and treatment around gambling harms. Currently, this funding is voluntary only and therefore not adequate in the eyes of the charity.

The White Paper in question aims to bring some of the rules and regulations surrounding gambling in the UK up to date so that they are more relevant to the modern market. The last gambling legislation review took place in 2005.

The latest information on how the document is progressing comes from Chris Philp, the former UK government minister responsible for gambling. Stepping down earlier this month, he said that the White Paper was currently “with No 10 for final approval”.

This statement, however, came much earlier this month and before Mr Boris Johnson stepped down as Prime Minister. This disruption at the very peak of government, it is thought, could further delay the White Paper from being approved and put into law.

Last week Damian Collins was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Online Safety at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). He will lead the UK government’s efforts on gambling and lotteries policy. He could have some say in how the final document looks, but details are so far unavailable.

It is feared that the document itself won’t be addressed until the battle for PM has ended and the new PM ensconced in their new role. In which case, anxieties may continue to build about its stalling.

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