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Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN HL13496, tabled on 22 February 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the finding of the study in the Nature Human Behaviour journal The association between gambling and financial, social and health outcomes in big financial data, published on 4 February, that increased gambling correlates with lower financial planning, missed mortgage payments, and increased bailiff interaction; and what assessment they have made of the potential for affordability checks in gambling to produce long-term secure financial outcomes for individuals.

Answered on

8 March 2021

The recently published study, ‘The association between gambling and financial, social and health outcomes in big financial data’, analysed banking transaction data and reported a correlation between higher rates of gambling spend as a proportion of outgoings and indicators of lower financial inclusion, wellbeing and healthiness. These correlations were generally strongest after the 75th percentile of spend levels. The analysis did not establish a causative link between gambling spend and the indicators identified.

The analysis also demonstrated a correlation between higher gambling spend and reduced spending on other amenities and leisure activities. It did not distinguish between electronic transactions made to online operators, and those made in local gambling premises, or look at gambling transactions involving cash. It is therefore not possible to assess the impact of online gambling on the local economy using this research.

The government has launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 with the publication of a Call for Evidence, and this will look at whether the right protections are in place to protect people who gamble online. We have called for evidence on the case for and against additional controls on online gambling accounts, and whether such controls should be based on affordability. The Gambling Commission’s Remote Customer Interaction consultation also called for evidence on the potential for enhanced requirements for online operators to conduct affordability checks to further protect consumers from harm. The deadline for submissions was 9 February, and the Commission is currently reviewing the evidence received.