To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Gambling Commission and Ipsos Mori Young People & Gambling 2020 Technical Report, published in August, in particular its finding that the number of 11 to 16 year-olds classified as problem gamblers had risen from 1.7 per cent in 2019 to 1.9 per cent in 2020; and what discussions they have had with the Gambling Commission about ways in which problem gambling by children can be reduced.
18 November 2020
Protecting children and vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling is a priority for government, and the government and the Gambling Commission work closely together on that issue. Gambling operators must abide by strict requirements for the protection of children and are subject to sanction by the Commission if they breach these rules. In May 2019 the Commission strengthened protections further to prevent children engaging in illegal underage gambling online by requiring operators to verify age and identity before allowing customers to deposit money or place a bet.
Since September 2020 teaching about the risks related to online gambling has been included in the Health Education curriculum, which is compulsory for pupils in state-funded schools. This is in addition to initiatives by third-sector bodies, including the PSHE Association’s resources to help teachers educate their pupils about the risks of gambling and how to avoid them, and the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust’s (YGAM) training and tools for teachers, youth workers, mental health specialists and others who work with children and young people.
The Gambling Commission conducts an annual survey of gambling activity by children and young people. The outbreak of Covid 19 halted fieldwork for the 2020 survey before it was finished, which meant that the survey’s sample size was significantly smaller than in previous years and that no surveys were completed in Wales. The Commission has made clear that results of the 2020 survey are therefore not representative of Great Britain and should not be compared to those of previous years. However, we have noted the information carefully as we do all research and data relating to children and gambling.
The government has committed to review the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age and further details will be announced in due course.