Gambling Addiction Group Says UK Laws Are Outdated

  • Lord Chadlington doesn't believe the UK's 2005 Gambling Act is fit for purpose
  • Concerns raised over video games being a gateway for children to gamble online
  • Action Against Gambling Harm was formed to allocate the £100m ($131m) donated
'Outdated' printed using a typewriter
A gambling addiction group led by Lord Chadlington has warned that the 2005 Gambling Act is not fit for purpose. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

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A gambling addiction group led by Conservative peer Lord Chadlington has called for legislation to be updated because the UK’s 2005 Gambling Act is outdated and not fit for purpose.

Lord Chadlington is in charge of a £100m ($131m) fund donated by the five largest gambling firms in the UK to combat gambling addiction. This money is being held by independent charity Action Against Gambling Harm, which will allocate the funds to problem gambling initiatives.

Lord Chadlington is in charge of a £100m ($131m) fund donated by the five largest gambling firms in the UK

Speaking on the need to update legislation, Lord Chadlington said: “Current legislation is not fit for purpose in 2020 because when it was drawn up in 2005 we had about 18% internet penetration in the country and now we are at over 90%, so there is very little in the act that deals with online.”

He also believes there is a significant lack of research into the harms associated with online gaming, especially in the case of children. He also believes video games may be a gateway for children to gamble when they grow up.

Contribution of funds

In July the UK’s five largest gambling firms promised to donate £100m ($131m) between 2020 and 2023. These firms make up 60% of the entire gambling market in the UK.

Following the final donations in 2023, the firms will contribute 1% of their annual revenues to various problem gambling initiatives. This will generate funds of about £60m ($79m) each year. 

New gambling harm charity

Lord Chadlington is joined on the committee by Liz Ritchie, a woman whose son took his own life due to his gambling addiction. Tracey Crouch is also on the committee. She led calls for the max stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) to be slashed when she was the UK’s sports minister.

The committee decided to create a charity named Action Against Gambling Harm. A board of trustees will be appointed by the committee, as well as a finance director and a chief executive. 

According to Lord Chadlington, this new charity will be completely independent of the gambling sector. Any gambling firms that lobby for funds will be excluded from receiving grants in the future. 

Constant battle in the UK

There has been a group effort by MPs in the UK to curtail the influence of the major gambling companies. One of the first moves was the introduction of a max stake of £2 ($2.63) on FOBTs. The previous max stake for these addictive machines was £100 ($131).

Revenues for betting shops with these betting terminals have significantly decreased. More than 1,000 betting shops have closed since the max stake was introduced. MPs are now pushing for a similar max stake of £2 ($2.63) to be enforced for online casino games

only making commitments to contribute more funds as they do not want any further restrictions imposed on them

Some people in the industry believe that the gambling companies are only making commitments to contribute more funds as they do not want any further restrictions imposed on them. Others believe more money should be donated.

Adam Bradford, co-founder of Safer Online Gambling Group, has had his say on how much gambling companies donate. He said: “It needs to be 10 times more and every single operator in the country needs to give a certain amount of their profits.”