Instant-Win Games in Focus of MPs Reviewing Gambling Laws

Britain is tussling with its gambling laws, looking to figure out a new way to regulate the industry to the benefit of consumers and arguably business. Achieving social sustainability has been a long-sought-after quest, with problem gambling levels falling but still persisting in the country. 

In a new bid to mitigate the social impact of problem gambling, a chair of a group of MPs who are currently examining how excessive gaming impacts individuals have called for the country’s lottery operator to be barred from using the national lottery brand and logo to advertise instant-win games. 

Labor MP Carolyn Harris, a known voice in the all-party parliamentary group for gambling-related harm, has discussed gambling harms and possible solutions for years now, The Guardian reported during the weekend. According to Harris, the type of instant-win games offered by Camelot are similar to some of the most harmful gambling products available to businesses in the industry. 

Harris argued that while instant-win has an appeal to the public, they contribute less than draw-based games back to the state coffers, which is one of the main objectives of the lottery in the first place. Harris minced no words. 

“The national lottery is now unrecognizable from when it was launched. It is not acceptable that they are using what people trust as a brand for good causes to encourage people to gamble. It’s appalling.” 

Labor MP Carolyn Harris

Targeting Games that Lead to Problem Gambling 

Harris and fellow MPs are only interested in suspending games that are linked to a higher incidence of problem gambling. Instant-win titles have been repeatedly associated with the issue. The calls for re-juggling the lottery come at an important time for the organization, which is now looking for a new license holder. 

The lottery is currently receiving courtship offers from Czech group Allwyn whose boss, Justin King, has actively advertised for the “revitalization” of the operator so that more players get involved, and a bigger return is generated back for the state. 

Allwyn is the new identity of Sazka Entertainment, the national Czech lottery operator. It is hardly the only one pushing for a license, though. Salsa is also among the bidders as the company is being acquired by Flutter Entertainment. The lottery’s license winner should be announced in February of this year, and the license will be transferred to the new operator in 2023. 

Boosting revenue is precisely what the government wants to hear, but achieving it is another matter altogether. The lottery has been able to hit back at some of the accusations levied against it, The Guardian said. For one, Camelot reported some 37 million adult players in 2021 and refuted any claims that similarly to gambling companies, it was generating its money from a bulk of players who had been playing excessively.

Just to the opposite. Camelot has achieved its position within the industry by creating an ecosystem in which players are encouraged to only spend a small amount of money to participate. Meanwhile, the MPs from the group reviewing gambling laws in the country will be coming up with a draft of its proposed changes soon, although whether instant-win games by the lottery operator fall under that category of review is still up for discussion. 

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