May 8, 2023
The UK's gambling white paper was recently released, underlining far-reaching action on online slots and casino bonuses and promotions. But the paper has come under scrutiny from the House of Lords or the upper house in the United Kingdom, for failure to provide clear direction on numerous points, leaving room for further consultation.
Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, the parliamentary under-secretary of state for the Department for culture, media and sport, was queried about the white paper's provisions, which were met with approval, although the postponement was censured.
Lord Grade of Yarmouth voiced his approval of the paper's direction but was wary of the amount of time extra consultations would require. He wondered why the government needed more time, especially after collecting 60,000 responses.
"This reminds me of the great saying in the film industry, 'hurry up and wait', when you get to the location and everybody is standing around, ready, but nothing happens. We are ready to go with this."
But Parkinson quickly responded that the administration was obliged to follow procedural norms by undertaking additional consultations. He further noted that the paper had given a "clear strategic direction".
He added that there was a difference between the conversations that produced the white paper, which focused on whether something should be done or not, and the current consultations centered on the method of implementation. Furthermore, he noted that the talks would help prevent legal disputes that could potentially lead to further delay and frustration.
Advertising by regulated gambling operators in the country is a controversial subject as it can have a negative influence on vulnerable people. Lord Foster, the chair of Peers for Gambling Reform for the Liberal Democrats, raised the issue of insufficient regulations on gambling advertising. He asserted that evidence demonstrates that advertising encourages people to gamble by pushing existing gamblers to stake more and those who have ceased gambling to resume their habit.
Lord Foster commented:
"Why would the industry spend £1.5bn a year on marketing if it was not to boost its profits? Other countries are taking action to ban or restrict gambling advertising. The majority of the British public wants us to do the same. Why is more not being proposed in this country?"
Parkinson, however, maintained that the white paper did recommend action, particularly regarding sports advertising. He said the sporting community is unifying to create and apply a standard approach regarding gambling sponsorships.
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