This week, Medway Labour and Co-operative Group have welcomed the long-awaited Government review on gambling laws, to ensure that they are fit for the digital age.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport will be considering a range of adjustments such as raising the minimum age for the National Lottery to 18, creating online stake limits and reassessing gambling advertising laws. The review will focus on digitally based gambling, and will be used to inform changes to the Gambling Act 2005, ensuring customer protection is secured whilst allowing those who choose to gamble the freedom to do so safely.

Cllr Vince Maple, Leader of the Medway Labour and Co-operative Group has a long history of fighting against the lack of regulation in the gambling industry, particularly in relation to Fixed Odd Betting Terminals (FOBTs). Vince lobbied MPs to lower stakes on FOBTs for years, with the Government eventually setting this limit at £2 in 2019.

Vince said that, ‘I am really pleased to see the Government review the Gambling Act, which 15 years on has become increasingly outdated with the increasing prevalence of gambling in a digital setting.

‘We are not anti-gambling, but we are anti-problem gambling, and the review of these laws are really important to ensure that consumers are not only protected but have the freedom to gamble in a safe manner.

‘This is of course a wide ranging issue – the reduction of stakes for FOBTs was a huge step in the right direction, but things like the timing of advertisements ensuring protection for children from exposure and sports promotions in particular shirt sponsorship remain a real issue in terms of exacerbating problem gambling. There also needs to be a greater recognition of the relationship between gambling and gaming – in particular the market for so called loot boxes which have already been banned in Belgium’

‘As digital media has become far more engrained in our every day life, it is important that our regulations around gambling reflect this, and I am hopeful that these issues will be addressed within the review which closes on the 31st March.’

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