Thank you for contacting me about online gambling, and particularly as it affects horseracing.
For many, gambling can be fun but I recognise that, for others, it can become a serious problem. While we all want a healthy gambling industry that makes an important economic contribution, we must also protect those that use it from harm.
Operators must be licensed by the Gambling Commission and comply with the accompanying conditions. In 2019, the Gambling Commission introduced new rules to ensure operators verify customers’ age and identity details quickly and robustly. Furthermore, in 2020, the Government and Commission provided further protections, including a ban on credit card gambling, making participation in the self-exclusion scheme GAMSTOP mandatory for online operators, and new guidance for operators to identify customers who may have been at heightened risk during the pandemic. For further information on GAMSTOP, please search: https://www.gamstop.co.uk/
I am delighted that the Government recognises that the Gambling Act 2005 is an analogue law in a digital age. A review of the act was launched in 2020 and examines online restrictions, marketing and the powers of the Gambling Commission. Furthermore, protections for online gamblers like stake and spend limits, advertising and promotional offers and whether extra protections for young adults are needed are also being explored. I understand that the Government aims to set out its findings in a White Paper in due course.
In preparing the Gambling White Paper, I understand the Government is giving full consideration to the impact of proposals, including on the Horserace Betting Levy, and Ministers and officials have held regular meetings with both the British Horseracing Authority and the Gambling Commission. The White Paper, and any subsequent consultations, will include the necessary assessments of impacts. The Government has also committed to review the Horserace Betting Levy by 2024 to ensure the sport is suitably funded for the future.
More broadly, the Government recognises the unique contribution that horse racing makes to the UK's sporting culture and in particular to the rural economy.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.