The IBA and our members have consistently supported the Gambling Regulation Bill (“the Bill”) and the introduction of regulation of the sector. We remain committed to combating problem gambling and are consistently striving to improve the effectiveness of our safer gambling measures.
We want to examine the ESRI report in detail to fully understand its methodology and terminology. On face value some the conclusions appear to be at odds with much international research on problem gambling; for instance, official NHS Health Survey figures for England suggest a problem gambling rate amongst the total population of 16+ of 0.4%*. We also need to understand the impact the lottery and scratch cards have on its findings – products which are not subject of the Bill.
We support the overwhelming majority of the provisions of the Bill and any issues we have raised have been with a view to improving its effectiveness and minimising unintended consequences. For example, the Bills’s proposal on the self-exclusion register does not go far enough – allowing an individual to self-exclude from just one operator, or a small number of operators, while allowing them to continue gambling with others.