Gambling: Children

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 16th October 2017.

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Photo of Jonathan Edwards Jonathan Edwards Shadow PC Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Foreign Intervention), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions she has had with organisations in the gaming industry on games replicating gambling activities being available to children.

Photo of Jonathan Edwards Jonathan Edwards Shadow PC Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Foreign Intervention), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions she has had with children's organisations on the effect of games that replicate gambling activities.

Photo of Jonathan Edwards Jonathan Edwards Shadow PC Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Foreign Intervention), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Education on teaching children about the dangers of playing online games that encourage them to gamble.

Photo of Jonathan Edwards Jonathan Edwards Shadow PC Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Foreign Intervention), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of making gaming applications with in-app purchase facilities only accessible to adults requiring age verification.

Photo of Jonathan Edwards Jonathan Edwards Shadow PC Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Foreign Intervention), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of age-gaming applications that replicate gambling activities in order to stop children accessing such applications.

Photo of Jonathan Edwards Jonathan Edwards Shadow PC Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Foreign Intervention), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of publishing advice for parents and carers on the potential dangers of young people playing online games that encourage them to gamble.

Photo of Tracey Crouch Tracey Crouch The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

The government's Internet Safety Strategy considers options for working with the online video games industry to improve video gaming safety. The government is committed to working with industry and others to promote awareness and understanding of parental controls and advice on safe video gaming.

We are committed to ensuring that consumers are properly protected and that children’s vulnerability and inexperience is not exploited in commercial practices related to in-app purchases. We welcomed the Competition and Market Authority’s investigation and subsequent guidance for games publishers setting out what they need to do to comply with the relevant consumer protection regulations. Additionally, in June 2015 the Authority published advice for parents and carers on children’s use of online and app-based games, setting out what steps to take to control the additional features a child can purchase in online and app-based games.

The Gambling Commission issued a discussion paper in 2015 regarding regulation of social video games which received a number of responses from industry, academia and other interested parties. The Commission concluded, in March 2017, that there is no compelling reason to impose additional regulation on social video games given that it is subject to extensive consumer protection legislation. The Commission continue to monitor developments within the social casino sector gathering evidence from a variety of sources, and working in partnership with the industry and other regulators.

The Gambling Commission’s expert advisers, the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board, are also examining the wider relationship between children and gambling.

The VSC Rating Board is our designated body for classifying video games and applies the Europe-wide PEGI ratings to video games supplied in the UK. The PEGI criteria currently makes provision for games depicting simulations of traditional gambling and such games would generally attract a minimum PEGI 12. However, the VSC Rating Board is discussing these issues with the PEGI Council and its Experts Group to determine whether any changes to the PEGI criteria need to be made.

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