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Chris Philp: Gambling minister says long-awaited white paper will be released very soon
The government’s resolve to confront the betting industry over an overhaul of gambling laws was once again laid bare by Chris Philp, the gambling minister, in a speech to defenders of the reform on Tuesday.
‘We will act and act quickly,’ said Philp, who promised the long-awaited white paper on the subject should be released ‘very soon’, although some Westminster watchers have hinted it won’t come until May. .
“Change is needed – and change is coming,” Philp said at the end of a 1,000-word speech at a rally organized by the All-Party Parliamentary Gambling Harm Group.
His speech was light on detail, as might be expected under the circumstances, but he highlighted “the role that technology and data can play in preventing harm from happening.”
“Apart from the review, the Gambling Commission will shortly publish its enhanced requirements for customer interaction, to ensure that gambling operators carry out appropriate checks, and we will also address this in our review, to ensure that the correct protections are in place.
“There are a lot of things we need to do through gambling review to address the risk of people becoming addicted.”
Philp specifically mentioned accessibility controls and Single Customer View (SCV), a data-sharing scheme intended to prevent risky gamers from simply switching to another operator who doesn’t know their status. Concerns have been expressed about the circumstances in which this data could be shared and the use that would be made of it.
“It goes without saying that any data shared as part of DMC, or collected to verify a customer’s financial status, should only be used for damage prevention purposes,” Philp said. “It should never be used for commercial purposes.
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“But it is also important to ensure that this work is proportionate. It would not be appropriate or proportionate to have intrusive checks for someone betting relatively small amounts of money on the Grand National.
“But there are certainly higher levels of gambling losses where proper checks need to be made. This is the type of intervention we are looking at, in a proportionate and balanced way. Obviously there are legitimate customer concerns about privacy that must be balanced with the imperative to prevent harm, and we will ensure that this balance is struck reasonably.
“We are clear that we are not going to rely on self-regulation. The government and the Gambling Commission have a range of powers to ensure that our objectives for the industry can be properly achieved and that the operators behave in the right way.”
Philp pointed to a few recent cases in which the commission had penalized operators, including the £9.4m fine imposed on 888 last week, the third highest imposed by the regulator.
“They allowed a client to lose £37,000 in an extremely short period of time without any control,” said Philp. “It’s just not fair, and it shouldn’t take the Gambling Commission to act after the event to catch them.”
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FIRST PUBLICATION AT 1:17 PM, MARCH 9, 2022