Gambling: Internet

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 6th July 2018.

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Photo of Anne Main Anne Main Conservative, St Albans

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department plans to bring forward legislation to ensure that gambling websites introduce stronger third-party age verification checks for users.

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

The Gambling Commission has strong powers requiring licensees to have policies and procedures designed to prevent underage gambling.

Under existing requirements, operators have a period of 72 hours to carry out age-verification. However, as set out in the Government response to the Consultation on proposed changes to Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures on 17th May, the Gambling Commission intends to bring forward proposals to remove the current 72 hour window for age-verification checks. This would mean that age-verification must be completed before a customer is able to deposit funds and gamble.

The Commission has also considered the availability of free-to-play gambling-style games and plans to strengthen the rules by requiring licensed gambling operators to complete age-verification checks before consumers are able to access free-to-play games.

Together with the Minister for Digital and Creative Industries, I will chair a roundtable bringing together the technology and gambling sectors to look at enhancing protections online. The Commission will consult on tightening age verification requirements and is continuing to work with the video games industry to raise awareness of the risks of third parties using its products to provide illegal gambling facilities. We are considering the issue of 16 and 17 year olds playing National Lottery products as part of the design phase of the Fourth Licence.

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