In spite of all the amendments that we tabled, we welcome the Bill, as far as it goes. It brings an industry that has grown to £2 billion a year under the UK Gambling Commission as the licensing authority and, in respect of licensing, it will create a level playing field between remote gambling operators, those that have remained onshore and our high street betting shops.
The questions that we have raised will be tested by how well the Gambling Commission enforces the requirements that are laid out in the Bill and implicit in the licence. Aspects such as research, treatment, the protection or self-exclusion of individuals, enforcement tools using IP blocking, financial blocking, and possible change to the watershed will all be subject to enforcement by the Gambling Commission. We will have to remain vigilant and see how that is implemented to ensure that the Bill has the desired effect, as expressed by Members in all parts of the House.
I pay tribute to my hon. Friend Mr Sutcliffe for the work that he initiated in government. Shortly after the remote gambling regulations were put in place in 2007, he and the present Comptroller of Her Majesty’s Household, Mr Foster, who is not in his place and to whom I pay tribute, identified the need for further regulation. It has taken some time for us to get to the point where we have the legislation before us, but we are here now and the Bill, as far as it goes, has support from all parts of the House, because we want to set the very highest standards here in the UK, which others will follow across the world in the regulation of remote and online gambling.
We certainly want the Gambling Commission to set the very highest standards so that people can enjoy the pastime of gambling in safety and in the knowledge that everything is being done to ensure that they can do so without fear of any harm. We commend the Bill and hope sincerely that everything required by it will be realised under the licensing regime applied by the Gambling Commission.