Documents to download

Summary

  • Although there is no explicit definition for gambling-related harm, the Gambling Commission, which is responsible for regulating gambling and supervising gaming law in Great Britain, define the term as covering “adverse impacts from gambling on the health and wellbeing of individuals, families, communities and society”. Gambling-related harms can include: financial instability; disruption or erosion of partnerships and familial relationships; and physical ill-health.
  • Gambling in gaming is varied and can comprise many forms. This includes gaming machines and in-game purchases. For example, loot boxes provide players with the opportunity to acquire an unknown quantity and quality of items for use within the game.
  • In Great Britain in 2018, the Gambling Commission found that 46 percent of respondents aged 16 or over had participated in at least one form of gambling in the month prior to the survey. This figure had remained stable since the previous year. The National Lottery was the most popular form of gambling, followed by scratchcards and other lotteries. Football and horse racing were the most popular betting activities. 21 percent of respondents had participated in “online gambling-style games” (a 3 percentage point decrease from 2017).
  • The latest annual survey by the Gambling Commission found that 11 percent of 11 to 16-year-olds (350,000) spent their own money on a gambling activity in the week prior to the survey. In comparison to other harmful activities, the rate of gambling in the past week among young people is lower than the rates of drinking alcohol (16%), but higher than using e-cigarettes (7%) smoking tobacco cigarettes (6%) and taking illegal drugs (5%). The survey also found that 2 percent of young people personally visited a betting shop to play a gaming machine in the week prior to the survey.
  • In 2016, the Government launched a review into gaming machines and social responsibility measures. As part of this, it published a consultation in October 2017 focusing on the maximum stakes at gaming machines and measures for the industry to reduce gambling-related harm. In response, the Government made several proposals, including reducing the maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals from £100 to £2, which took effect in April 2019.
  • In February 2019, the Labour Party proposed controls on online gambling, including caps on the amount that consumers can gamble. Tom Watson, the deputy leader of Labour, has also called for the Gambling Commission to have oversight of gambling in gaming. The Gambling Commission has previously stated that loot boxes in games did not meet the Gambling Act 2005’s definition of gambling.
  • In September 2019, the Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust opened the NHS Northern Gambling Service, which is the first of its kind outside London, as part of a new network of services for addicts being rolled out as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.
  • In the same month, the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee published a report into its inquiry on immersive and addictive technologies, which included examining the links between gaming and gambling. The committee called on the Government to bring forward regulations under section 6 of the Gambling Act 2005 to specify that loot games are a “game of chance” and should be considered gambling under UK law. It is awaiting a response by the Government.
  • In October 2019, the Children’s Commissioner published a report examining children’s participation with gaming. It found that the monetisation of gaming, through in-game purchases, “brings children closer to gambling”. As part of her policy recommendations, the commissioner called for gambling laws to be “updated” to “reflect the reality” of children’s experiences of spending money within games.

Documents to download

Related posts

  • Support for opera

    Concerns have been raised about the state of the opera sector in England, with much of this focused on the financial pressures it is facing. A number of English opera institutions are now receiving reduced Arts Council funding and, taken together with increasing cost pressures and inflation, this has led to cuts in performances and concerns about the sector’s future viability. In addition, concerns have been raised about diversity and equality across opera, including in audiences and the workforce. Arts Council England has said it will be having discussions with sector representatives about how these issues can be best addressed.

    Support for opera
  • UEFA European Football Championship 2028

    The UK and the Republic of Ireland are due to jointly host the European Football Championship in 2028 (EURO 28). The UK government hopes it will deliver £2.4bn in socio-economic benefits to cities and communities across the UK. EURO 28 will be held in 10 venues across England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland. However, there have been recent concerns over the costs of the development of one of those venues: Casement Park in Belfast.

    UEFA European Football Championship 2028
  • Contribution of sport to society and the economy

    This briefing considers the benefits of sport and physical activity ahead of a House of Lords debate on the subject on 16 May 2024. The government and sports sector stakeholders agree that sport has many benefits for individuals and communities, as well as for the economy more broadly. The government published a new strategy for the sports sector in August 2023. The ambition of the strategy was commended; however, sports charities and the opposition suggested that more was required from the government to deliver on it.

    Contribution of sport to society and the economy