Gambling White Paper shows 'positive steps'

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Safe and responsible gambling: new white paper showed positive steps towards fairness (Credit: Getty/SolStock)
Safe and responsible gambling: new white paper showed positive steps towards fairness (Credit: Getty/SolStock)

Related tags Legislation Government Finance Social responsibility

The white paper on gambling provides an “opportunity to improve” protection in pubs and demonstrated “positive steps” towards “fairness”, trade bodies from across the sector have stated.

Published on Thursday 27 April, the paper laid out new regulations and restrictions to lower gambling limits and ensure enhanced safeguarding for younger gamblers, including the development of cashless payment systems.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “As a sector, we take our role in ensuring that levels of gambling on machines in pubs and other hospitality venues remain measured very seriously and will continue to do our best to safeguard our customers from any gambling harms.

“We particularly commend the report’s recommendation to bring contactless payment methods into consideration.  

“This an opportunity to improve player protection in pubs, by enabling better control of stake restrictions and limits imposed by the players themselves.”

The paper detailed plans to strengthen pub licensing laws to prevent underage gameplay, adding some venues, particularly pubs, had seen “too many instances of insufficient age verification”.

Safe and responsible gambling 

It said: “We challenge industry to improve age verification and will legislate when parliamentary time allows to strengthen licensing authority powers in respect of alcohol-licensed premises by making provisions in the Gambling Commission’s code of practice binding.

“The Commission will also remove the exemption from test purchasing requirements for the smallest venues, ensuring all licensed venues are held to the same standards.”

While most gambling products are permitted from age 18, operators should consider age as a factor when considering potential vulnerabilities, as some young adults may be susceptible to gambling-related harm, the paper added.

British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “This white paper is a positive move towards ensuring parity and fairness between on and offline gaming.

“Gaming machine play in pubs tends to be low risk, with lower stakes and prizes, taking place in a public, relaxed social environment, and as a sector we are committed to ensuring the prevention of under-age play across the board.

“We look forward to working alongside our members to continue the promotion of safe and responsible gaming in pubs as well as engaging with the Government on upcoming consultations and reviews in this area.”

In addition, Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA) CEO Michael Kill stated it was “important” the sector took time to “evaluate” the impacts of the measures set out within the paper leading up to the consultation period.

Played and enjoyed 

“The long-awaited Gambling White Paper is encouraging and moves towards ensuring a level of equity and fairness between online and offline gaming across the UK.

“We support some of the paper’s recommendations, particularly bringing contactless payment methods into consideration”, Kill continued.

As detailed in the paper, alcohol licensed premises, including pubs, are able to offer two Category C and D gaming machines in reliance on their alcohol licence, or more if they apply to the licensing authority.

Nicholls added: “We will also continue to engage with the relevant authorities to examine what measures can further tackle under-age gambling, which we believe can be effectively achieved without the need to resort to legislation.

“It is important to recognise revenue from gambling machines can be a valuable source of income for struggling venues. We therefore hope this review marks a restoration of gambling machines in pubs, where they can be responsibly played and enjoyed.”

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