In a recent publication, conservative MP Iain Smith proposed the UK Gambling Commission be replaced with an independent regulatory body that monitors the industry. Furthermore, in light of the ongoing review by the Government of the Gambling Act, Smith urged for bold actions.
Can an Independent Regulatory Body Replace the UKGC?
UK MP Iain Duncan Smith urged the Government to take bold moves in light of the ongoing review of the 2005 Gambling Act. In a publication for the Politics Home website, Smith, in his position as vice-chairman of the Gambling-related harm All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) noted that the review of the Gambling Act presents the Government with an opportunity to review the powers of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).
In fact, Smith said that the Government should “be rid of it (the Gambling Commission) altogether” and proposed that the Commission is replaced with “a regulatory body that independently monitors the industry“. According to him, now is the time for the Government to make bold moves and to ensure that proper control is set which will result in an end to gambling abuses and addictions.
“Now is the time to make bold moves, to make sure we get proper control and that the abuses and the addiction end,”wrote Iain Duncan Smith MP
Furthermore, Smith said that the evidence which APPG has collected regarding gambling harm should be part of the government’s inquiry. He added that countless stories of gambling harm are heard and stressed that young lives have been ruined and families devastated.
Gambling Profits Grow along with Gambling-Related Harm
Another point which the conservative Smith has raised is that there are some 430,000 problem gamblers in the UK. However, he added that this number may be significantly higher and reaching as many as 2 million people. Smith further acknowledged that the number of problem gamblers age 11 to 16-year-old has increased from 55,000 to 62,000.
“The gambling industry must be made to understand the extent of the responsibilities it holds in order that the public can be better served,”wrote Iain Smith
Smith said that the profits of the gaming industry have grown “exponentially“. According to him, the biggest part of the profits is in fact coming from people who are most addicted. As an example, Smith revealed that some 60% of the gambling profits are coming from 5% of the players and it is likely that those players are experiencing harm.
With that in mind, Smith expressed approval of the Government’s decision to increase the minimum age for participation in the National lottery to 18. He deemed this as the “beginning of a real sea change” in the attitude towards gambling abuses. However, according to Smith, “there is still a long way to go to protect” the vulnerable from gambling harms.