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Gambling-related Harms

Volume 729: debated on Thursday 9 March 2023

8. What recent discussions she has had with gambling industry representatives on tackling gambling-related harms. (903946)

I know that the hon. Member, as vice-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on gambling related harm, has a keen interest in this issue. Tackling gambling-related harm is a priority of mine. I have met the Betting and Gaming Council, the British Amusement Catering Trade Association and the Bingo Association, as well as some of those with lived experience of gambling harms, including the Gambling Commission’s lived experience advisory panel and those involved with Gambling with Lives. I also recently discussed with the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust how gambling affects young people. All of that will support our evidence-led gambling review, and we will publish a White Paper setting out our conclusions shortly.

I know this is an important area for the Minister, too. Figures published by Public Health England estimate that the total cost of gambling harm to public health ranges from £754.4 million to £1.475 billion. These costs have been attributed to suicide, depression, homelessness and alcohol dependence among adults, so when will the Secretary of State publish the long-awaited White Paper? Will she commit to including a statutory levy and stringent affordability checks to ensure people are protected and do not gamble more than they can afford?

The hon. Lady rightly highlights the impact gambling can have on some vulnerable people. This is the most thorough review of gambling laws since the Gambling Act 2005 was passed, and we need to get it right so that our regulation is not just fit for the digital age but protects those who are vulnerable. We are looking at the best available evidence, including from the 16,000 submissions to our call for evidence, and we will be publishing our findings very shortly.