UK culture secretary Lucy Frazer speaks to gambling reformists
The new culture secretary spoke at a meeting of Gambling with Lives.
UK.- While the person set to take over the UK government’s gambling brief has yet to be named, culture secretary Lucy Frazer has spoken to reformists at a meeting of Gambling with Lives.
Frazer praised the pressure group’s work, describing them as “tireless and devoted champions” and said that the people impacted by gambling-related suicides must be accounted for when it comes to reforming the gambling industry.
The DCMS, which Frazer took over in a government restructuring last month, began a review of the 2005 Gambling Act in 2020. However, its gambling white paper is now a year overdue. Nevertheless, Frazer insisted that Gambling with Lives’ campaigning has had an impact on the review.
She said she had been hit hard by stories of families whose lives have been devasted by gambling-related suicides. She also said she had been influenced by the Gambling Harm Time for Action report delivered to the House of Lords and by participants in the Lived Experience Advisory Panel.
She said: “I’ve only been Culture Secretary for three weeks, meeting all of you and hearing your experiences was one of the first things I wanted to do in this role. It’s so important to hear directly from families who have been touched by these issues, and I really value your input when looking at gambling reform.”
She added: “I do want to give these issues justice and take some time to make sure that I do meet with you and others to really understand the issues. I am particularly conscious of the vulnerability of young people.”
“Nearly every area of gambling policy is in scope”
Frazer also recognised the increasing frustration with delays in the delivery of the gambling white paper. She insisted that the topic is still an “absolute priority” for UK prime minister Rishi Sunak and that “nearly every area of gambling policy is in scope”.
She said: “The white paper, when it is published, will not be the last word on reform. I’m really keen to keep talking to you all, and to make sure we understand the drivers of gambling harm and how we can protect the public.”
On the subject of suicides, last week the British regulator, the Gambling Commission, opened a consultation on “suicide disclosures”. The regulator proposes that licensees be required to inform it when they become aware that a customer who has gambled with them has died by suicide.
Such suicide disclosures would become a reportable event under operators’ LCCP duties. Finally, the regulator proposes new technical requirements to update its Payment Services Regulations (PSR).
The consultation also includes proposed changes to the GAMSTOP self-exclusion scheme to extend it to more categories of licensees to cover all betting operators, including those that accept bets by telephone and email. This would entail updating the Gambling Commission’s Social Responsibility Code on Remote multi-operator self-exclusion duties.