APPG raises concerns over new forms of online gambling

The group wants the government to legislate on social casinos and slot steaming.
The group wants the government to legislate on social casinos and slot steaming.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has written to parliament about “deeply concerning” new forms of gambling, including slot streaming, social casinos and loot boxes.

UK.- The UK government’s All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Gambling-related Harm has written to parliament to express concerns with “new forms of online gambling“.

The letter, signed by the group’s chair Carolyn Harris MP and the chair of Peers for Gambling Reform, Lord Foster of Bath, mentions slot streaming, social casinos, esports betting and loot boxes. It calls for the government’s ongoing review of gambling legislation to look into all four.

The APPG said that it had particular concerns over slot streaming and social casinos since they aren’t classified as gambling. It cited research that found that 3-4 per cent of adults in the UK play on social casinos and that users watched 32.5 million hours of slot streams on Twitch in June.

It also quoted an academic who described loot boxes as “coercive and controlling”, although it recognised that the government had already begun to review the issue, with the DCMS’s consultation receiving 30,000 responses.

The APPG also raised concerns over the “potentially harmful” use of multiple in-play bets on esports events.

Carolyn Harris MP and Lord Foster said: “The review must establish mechanisms to research, review and, where relevant, re-classify these activities without primary legislation, to provide appropriate safeguards.

“Failing to include these new forms of gambling in the review will mean that legislation will very rapidly not be fit for the digital era and effectively be out of date on publication.”

Research on gambling advertising

In a separate letter, the APPG mentioned the findings of research into gambling advertising as a response to minister John Whittingdale’s claim that empirical evidence “did not establish a causal link between exposure to advertising and the development of problem gambling”.

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) highlighted Whittingdale’s assertion in its criticism of calls for a ban on gambling advertising during Euro 2020.

In its response, the APPG highlighted evidence suggesting that problem gamblers aged 16-24 could be influenced to bet by advertising.

The APPG has called for television channels to drop all gambling sponsorship during daytime television.

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