How harmful is gambling, and what can be done? Lords ask for input to new inquiry

The House of Lords Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry has today issued its call for evidence.

Issues relating to the gambling industry and individuals affected by disordered gambling are varied, and many are without research or reliable facts. The Committee has focused its inquiry on issues including: the current state of the industry; the lack of accurate estimates of the extent of the problem; developments in gambling habits, in particular online gambling; the ‘gamblification’ of sport; the industry’s contribution towards research, education and treatment of problem gamblers; whether those who need help have access to it; advertising; and lotteries.

Questions the Committee asks in its call for evidence include:

  • How effective is the Gambling Act 2005 in achieving its aims of preventing gambling from being a crime or disorder, ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way, and protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling?
  • Does the Act need to be updated to reflect the significant changes in technology, and latest knowledge on gambling-related harm, since it was introduced?
  • Should gambling operators have a legal duty of care to their customers?
  • What are the social and economic costs of gambling?
  • How effective is the voluntary levy?
  • Are the services available for the treatment and support of people who are harmed by gambling sufficient and effective?
  • What steps should be taken to better understand any link between suicide and gambling?
  • What more should be done to educate the public about gambling?
  • How should we make decisions about the regulation of gambling advertising?
  • What are the risks associated with the increasingly close relationships between betting operators and sports leagues, broadcasters and clubs?
  • Should children be allowed to play games machines including fruit machines, pushers and cranes?
  • Should any changes be made to the rules governing the National Lottery?

View the full call for evidence here.

Lord Grade of Yarmouth, the Chairman of the Select Committee, said: “We know that the effects of gambling on individuals and families can be devastating. This Committee seeks further to understand the issues, in an area where concrete evidence is lacking, and to explore options for improvement.

“The Committee is keen to receive evidence from a wide range of individuals, organisations and any sectors or groups in society effected. We encourage anyone with experience of the issues to share their views, and participate in this vital inquiry.”

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