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Problem Gambling - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:49 pm on 2nd July 2019.

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Photo of Lord Ashton of Hyde Lord Ashton of Hyde The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 3:49 pm, 2nd July 2019

As I said, the Gambling Commission has just finished taking evidence on that very subject and it is something that we will look at. The Secretary of State has indicated that it is an area that concerns him. We have to work on the basis of evidence, but that evidence has been collected and I assure my noble friend that it is an area being considered at the moment.

I just do not think there is any connection between the amount that a private owner of a gambling company pays him or herself and the issue. The issue is: where is the harm to the just under 1% of problem gamblers and how are we addressing it? Today’s announcement means that it will be addressed. Combined with the increase in NHS facilities, it means we are able to do a lot more to help problem gamblers than we have before. The remainder of the gambling industry not among those five big companies will be under no illusions after today. Hitherto, we were told that a voluntary system could not work and today we have increased the amount available tenfold. We will see what the remaining 50% of companies do, but it is much better to get people to contribute the right amount voluntarily than to make regulations for the sake of it. But we will monitor that and regulation will come if it is necessary.