The APPG’s (All-Party Parliamentary Group) chair for Gambling Related Harm, Carolyn Harris, has recently called for further reform of the Gambling Act 2005, and the UK Gambling Commission, to help improve the protection of vulnerable people from the industry.
On the 9th January, Carolyn Harris brought to attention the gambling industry’s relationship to the FA (English Football Association), criticising deals between the two and urging for more to be done by the UK government. Harris stated:
“Everything about the deal is shameful, everything about it needs to be dealt with and everything about the Gambling Act 2005 need reform. The Gambling Commission certainly needs reform.”
Harris further commented “I thank the Prime Minister for his comments, but I urge the Government to do more to protect vulnerable people.”
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Harris also made comments on how problem gambling “should be treated as a public health crisis” and that whilst it seemed the FA was beginning to distance itself from the gambling sector by ending its sponsorship with Ladbrokes, its 2017 deal with IMG was evidence to the contrary.
Online gambling operators have recently been streaming FA Cup games, with site users only able to access the games once they had either deposited money or made a bet.
The FA has been criticised for its relationship with the gambling sector, with the deal between the IMG agency and the FA enabling IMG to sell footage of the games to operators. This deal is said to last until 2024.
Nigel Adams (Minister for Sport, Media and Creative Industries), responded to Harris’s comments, stating that “The Government are also very angry about this arrangement, especially after a weekend when the FA worthily highlighted its Heads Together mental health campaign.”
“I have spoken at some length to the FA since this broke. The arrangement has been in place for some time; the 2017 contract was a rollover of a deal. The Government have asked the Football Association to look at all avenues to review this element of its broadcasting agreement.”
Adams further commented that the FA have been asked to review the deal “to see what opportunities there are to rescind this particular element”, and that he is meeting with the FA in the next week.