Gambling: Young People

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 9th July 2019.

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Photo of Clive Lewis Clive Lewis Shadow Minister (Treasury)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to prevent young people from becoming addicted to gambling.

Photo of Mims Davies Mims Davies Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Preventing children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed by gambling is a priority for government and a core licensing objective for the Gambling Commission.

Operators offering gambling services to people in Great Britain must have a licence from the Gambling Commission and must have effective policies and procedures designed to prevent underage gambling. Where there is a failure to do so, the Gambling Commission has shown it is willing to act using the range of powers to act at its disposal.

The Gambling Commission has taken action to strengthen protections for young people. In May this year it introduced stricter age and identity verification controls, requiring all consumers to be age verified before they are able to deposit money or access free-to-play demo games. Government has also worked positively with five major operators resulting in commitments to using online technology where available to target gambling adverts away from people showing signs of problem gambling behaviour. They will also further share further data with to protect problem gamblers from experiencing further harm.

From September 2020, health education will be compulsory for all pupils in state-funded primary and secondary schools. This will cover education on online harms, including the risks related to online gambling. The non-statutory Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) programme of study, published by the PSHE Association, includes teaching about gambling and its psychological and financial impact. GambleAware, an independent charity which funds services to help to reduce gambling harms, is working with the PSHE Association to develop resources for schools to promote resilience and raise awareness around risk-taking and gambling.

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