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Gambling: Internet

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 65172, tabled on 26 June 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of whether the Betting and Gaming Council trade body should permit members to profit from online gambling in jurisdictions where gambling is not permitted.

Answered on

6 July 2020

The Gambling Commission’s role is to license and regulate commercial gambling in Great Britain, advising the Government on matters relating to gambling and ensuring that operators abide by strict requirements intended to keep gambling fair and open and crime free and to protect children and vulnerable people.

Operators providing gambling facilities to customers in Great Britain must be licensed by the Commission and comply with the conditions of their operating licences. It expects them to obey the laws of all other jurisdictions in which they operate, and requires them to report any regulatory investigation or finding into their activities in any other jurisdiction. They must inform the Commission if they have a substantial customer base outside of Britain and state why they consider they are legally able to offer facilities to those customers.

Requiring the Commission to complete, publish and maintain a jurisdiction by jurisdiction legal analysis of a range of combinations of products and supply arrangements would require a significant expenditure of resource in an area which does not relate to its core responsibility to regulate gambling in Great Britain. The Commission considers it is for operators to satisfy themselves that they are acting in a lawful manner in other jurisdictions and if they are found not to be, it will re-assess their suitability to hold a licence to offer gambling services in Britain.

The Commission’s list of research, prevention and treatment organisations is intended to give clarity to operators on where they may direct funding to satisfy the licence condition requirement of an annual financial contribution. It requires organisations on the list to demonstrate suitable independent oversight, such as regulation by the Charity Commission, and to make a commitment to collaborate with other bodies in order to prioritise actions to reduce gambling harms.

In March 2020 the Commission amended its licence conditions and codes of practice to make it mandatory for operators to be integrated to GAMSTOP, the multi-operator self-exclusion scheme. The charity GambleAware has commissioned the first phase of a study to assess the impact of multi-operator self-exclusion schemes, including those for online gambling. This first phase is nearing publication and we will consider its findings carefully.

The Advisory Board for Safer Gambling’s Progress Report on the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms made a number of recommendations on gambling-related suicide, but these are within the remit of bodies other than the Commission. The Government is considering the report carefully.