UK MP Notes ‘Extremely Troubling Practices’ by Operators as Gambling Act Review Nears End

  • The DCMS will publish its gambling regulation review white paper in the coming months
  • MPs are aiming to introduce reforms to protect people from gambling-related harm
  • The Gambling Minister commented on the troubling practices of certain operators
  • Philp also reiterated that Football Index users have no entitlement to compensation
Westminster
The UK Gambling Minister has expressed concern about “extremely troubling practices” from certain operators as a regulatory review draws to a close. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

White paper due soon

UK Gambling Minister Chris Philp is concerned with “extremely troubling practices” from some of the market’s gambling operators.

The MP raised the issue during the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) minister questions session in the House of Commons. Philp commented on the progress made so far with the government’s review of the Gambling Act, as well as the collaboration with different departments, and the aftermath of the Football Index collapse.

the first major update to the UK’s gambling legislation since 2005

Philp said the “urgent” regulatory review is coming to a close, asserting that the government will publish a white paper “as soon as possible in the coming months.” Any reform will represent the first major update to the UK’s gambling legislation since 2005. Philp said MPs are carefully working through all of the evidence from the 16,000 submissions of feedback regarding rule changes.

Likely outcomes of the review

Speaking this week, Philp outlined some likely areas of change on the back of the government review. This includes the strengthening of age-related measures, as well as stricter rules in general. Another key change that looks likely is the implementation of a ban on betting companies sponsoring the shirts of professional soccer teams.

Philp also touched upon the goals of the review, affirming that MPs are hoping to enact reforms that will help stop serious gambling-related harm from occurring, while still providing a certain level of freedom to people who gamble safely.

grooming and sucking vulnerable people into a web of despair”

During the questions session, Labour MP Rachael Maskell criticized gambling operators for “grooming and sucking vulnerable people into a web of despair.” She also asked the Gambling Minster if he planned to introduce new holistic solutions in collaboration with the Department of Health and Social Care to help problem gamblers.

In response, Philp acknowledged the “extremely troubling practices” of certain operators, particularly online operators that “lead people down the path to a very dark place that sometimes leads to suicide.” He mentioned his meetings with families who have lost loved ones this way as a result of gambling. Philp confirmed that he has already met with Health Minister Gillian Keegan to discuss the matter.

No Football Index compensation

In relation to the collapse of soccer betting platform Football Index, Philp confirmed that users who lost funds do not have an entitlement to compensation. However, he said that investigations are still ongoing and subsequent criminal investigations could commence if appropriate.

Football Index allowed users to buy virtual shares in players, receiving rewards off the back of their performances and media rankings. The company went into administration in March 2021, with users losing millions in the process.

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) received criticism off the back of the Football Index collapse, with the government questioning how the regulator failed to prevent the situation. As a result, the UKGC said it has made changes to its regulatory oversight regarding these types of “innovative” online gambling products.