Gambling Advertising - Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords am 3:05 pm ar 25 Ebrill 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) 3:05, 25 Ebrill 2024

Well, as with the case that the right reverend Prelate raised, I will take that up with officials. I was spelling out some of the actions—some of which are still to come in. As I said, the Premier League rules will come in by the end of the forthcoming season. I am sure the noble Lord will reflect that some of the work has been done and some is coming shortly, but I will raise the case he mentions with the team at the department.

As we set out in our White Paper, we are also working closely with the Gambling Commission to take targeted action on advertising to ban harmful practices and ensure that it remains socially responsible, wherever it appears. The commission has recently consulted on new rules to give consumers more control over the direct gambling marketing that they wish to receive, and on strengthened protections to ensure that free bets and bonuses are constructed in a way that does not encourage excessive or harmful gambling. The commission will set out its responses to these consultations soon. Together, these measures will empower customers and prohibit harmful marketing practices, to prevent the risk of gambling harms.

The noble Baroness, Lady Bennett of Manor Castle, referred to the powers available to local authorities. As she reflected, these vary from local authority to local authority, but, as we heard in the debate, the metro mayors in London and Manchester are using the powers that are available to them.

There is no single intervention that provides the answer to effectively preventing gambling-related harm. That is why we have taken a holistic approach that includes action on products and protections for players. We recently announced the introduction of stake limits for online slot games, where we have seen evidence of elevated levels of harmful gambling, and are pursuing broader protections, such as financial risk checks that will require online operators to identify and take action in relation to customers who are financially vulnerable. That will prevent runaway losses, which we are still seeing happen too often. The Government are clear that effective and innovative collaboration to get the right mixture of interventions for the population as a whole—as well as those with specific needs or vulnerabilities—is required to tackle gambling harm.

A key part of that approach is the Government’s decision to introduce a statutory levy, which I know has been a long-standing priority for the noble Lord, Lord Foster, and which the noble Lord, Lord Bassam, and others raised. In his opening remarks, the noble Lord, Lord Foster, dwelt on the importance of evidence. Perhaps I should end my remarks by acknowledging that further work is needed to build the evidence base to ensure that policy and regulation are able to deal with emerging issues.

In response to the contribution from the noble Lord, Lord Bassam, I make clear that developing quality evidence is a priority for our statutory levy. Through the levy, increased and ring-fenced funding will be directed towards high-quality, independent research into gambling and gambling-related harms, including in relation to advertising. We will continue to monitor the evidence base and, if new evidence suggests that we need to go further, we will look at this again. The Government will also respond to their bespoke consultation on the levy and will set out their final decisions very soon.

I thank the noble Lord, Lord Foster of Bath, for tabling today’s debate and all those who have spoken in it. I am certain that we will return to this topic again before long.