Campaign: The Gambling Act


March 2021

Thank you for contacting me about online gambling, particularly with regard to affordability checks and sports betting. 

You may be aware, that operators providing gambling facilities to customers in Great Britain must be licensed by the Gambling Commission and comply with the conditions of their operating licences. In recent years, the Gambling Commission has introduced a number of licence conditions in relation to online gambling to ensure the protection of children and vulnerable people. In May 2019, the Gambling Commission introduced new age and identity verification rules to ensure operators verify customers’ age and identity details quickly and robustly. Furthermore, in 2020, the Government and Commission have strengthened these protections further, including a ban on credit card gambling, making participation in the self-exclusion scheme GAMSTOP mandatory for online operators, as well as issuing new guidance for operators to address the potential for some customers to be at heightened risk during the Covid-19 period. For further information on GAMSTOP, please search:

I appreciate your concern about the impact of the Gambling Commission’s consultation, which has now closed, specifically in regard to affordability checks. I want to stress that the proposals focus on more prescriptive requirements for operators to identify and intervene with customers who may be at risk of harm. This includes a specific process for assessing affordability and particular consideration will be given to the spending/loss threshold at which it might be proportionate to require operators to complete affordability checks.

For further information on the consultation, please search:….

I note that you are concerned that skilled betting will be considered alongside non-skilled betting, such as slot machines and bingo, under the Government’s review of the Gambling Act 2005. This review will examine protections for online gamblers (including stake and spend limits), advertising and promotional offers, and whether extra protections for young adults are needed. I do, however, understand that the Government is aware that online gambling on slots, casinos or bingo games is associated with a higher rate of problem gambling (9.2 per cent) compared to online betting with a bookmaker (2.5 percent). Furthermore, I have been assured that the review aims to make certain that the Gambling Act is fit for the digital age, striking the right balance between protecting vulnerable people from gambling related harm, while also respecting the freedom of adults to choose how they spend their money and leisure time. I have the utmost confidence that the Government will take these points into account when conducting the review.

For further information on the review, and guidance on how to respond to the call for evidence, please search:….

I am also delighted that the Government recognises that the Gambling Act 2005 is increasingly becoming an analogue law in a digital age. In December 2020, the Culture Secretary announced the launch of a major and wide-ranging review into the Act to ensure our gambling laws are fit for purpose, as committed to in the 2019 Conservative Manifesto. 

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Conor Burns MP responds