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EPIC react to the UK Government’s Gambling Act Review white paper

EPIC Risk Management has expressed cautious optimism following the long-awaited release of the UK Government’s Gambling Act Review white paper published earlier today (Thursday).

Among notable recommendations being presented for consultation are a mandatory levy on gambling operators’ profits to be introduced to fund treatment, research and education around gambling-related harm, affordability checks to be introduced at different levels of losses, and a £2 limit on stakes being introduced for anyone under the age of 25.

The review was initially instigated in 2019 with the intention of assessing the compatibility of the existing 2005 Gambling Act in an increasingly digitised world and the effect this has had on people’s accessibility to gambling.

Four years in the making, the white paper now lists recommendations expected to be subject to months, or even years, of further consultation before being amended or accepted to be enshrined into legislation.

Paul Buck, CEO of EPIC Risk Management, was among those called by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to provide evidence to inform the review, and having had the chance to assess its findings, had the following to say:

“We welcome the release of the Gambling Act Review white paper because whilst it is far from the end of the process due to another likely two or three years of discussions, this now informs where we’re heading in trying to create a safer gambling industry within the UK. We welcome any legislation that looks to prevent gambling-related harm sensibly, but we’re acutely aware that today’s white paper still has plenty of work to do to iron out the details on key areas.”

“We particularly welcome the suggestion of differentiation of stakes on online slots for under 25s and provide further safeguards for the youngest members of society once they are legally allowed to bet – it is a step in the right direction.”

“If you’re looking at the three main areas, the first is obviously a statutory levy. That means the operators must give a certain percentage of profits to a levy for research, education, and treatment. In principle, this could work, despite worries from public health experts globally. The consultation must, however, clarify exactly who will independently commission this and ensure the funds are directed to the most effective organisations that can create the most impact. The effective commissioning of funding will be crucial and will take step-change progress.

“The other concern is that there is much talk of treatment (NHS) and research. Whilst these are crucial, we also believe that prevention is crucial, and it is a false economy that encourages harm if prevention is not front and centre of the conversation.”

EPIC Risk Management works with multiple stakeholders across some of the highest-risk sectors for gambling harm, including professional sport, education, financial services, the gambling industry, and construction. It uses lived experience at the heart of a mission to take the problem out of gambling.

The release of the Gambling Act Review white paper, and its various recommendations to improve safeguarding around betting, will help inform the range of education, advice, training and consultancy we offer across all sectors, ensuring that our provision remains at the forefront of combatting gambling-related harm.

EPIC Risk Management has already confirmed to the Gambling Commission and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport that we are happy to provide our experience and expertise by working closely in the upcoming consultations and providing that lived experience and professional input to make gambling safer for all.

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