Skip to main content

Gambling Act 2005 (Amendment of Schedule 6) Order 2018

Volume 788: debated on Thursday 1 February 2018

Motion to Approve

Moved by

My Lords, Schedule 6 lists the bodies with which the Gambling Commission can share information, and vice versa, using powers in Section 30 of the Gambling Act. Gambling Commission licence conditions also require operators to share information with the bodies in the schedule in some circumstances. The list is made up of bodies which have functions under the Act, UK enforcement and regulatory bodies and sports governing bodies. The last substantive review of the bodies listed in Schedule 6 was in 2012. The Government propose to amend it to update the names of some sports governing bodies which are already listed, and add others which meet the criteria that I will touch on later. This will include the UK Anti-Doping agency. The update will help information flow between the Gambling Commission, which regulates all gambling operators selling to customers in Great Britain, and sports bodies. The integrity of sport is paramount. It is important that we make sure the Gambling Commission can share intelligence with sports governing bodies to help protect the integrity of sport and sports betting markets.

Sports betting is a popular entertainment activity for many who enjoy watching sport. Preventing the manipulation of competitions is essential to uphold public trust in sports betting and in the integrity of sport itself. Information sharing plays a central part in preventing corruption domestically and, given that threats can be cross-border in nature, internationally. The Gambling Commission’s statutory objectives include keeping gambling fair, open and free of crime. Its sports betting intelligence unit receives information and intelligence relating to potential criminal breaches of sports betting integrity, misuse of information and breaches of sports betting rules. This comes in particular from gambling operators who have noticed suspicious or irregular betting patterns. The intelligence is shared with other bodies involved in tackling these issues.

Bodies which are to be added were required to demonstrate that they had the necessary systems for information management in place, as well as the necessary rules governing betting. Although information can be shared with a body not listed in the schedule, this requires detailed consideration and, potentially, legal advice. While all data sharing remains subject to the Data Protection Act, listing a body in the schedule provides a legal gateway, which reduces the administrative burden on the commission and the bodies themselves, as well as helping information to be shared in a timely and effective way. The update is intended to ensure that Schedule 6 covers an appropriate range of sports, using information-sharing powers as originally intended for supporting the fight against corruption. The inclusion of UK Anti-Doping aligns with the Government’s approach to protecting the integrity of sport, as set out in the Sporting Future strategy and the anti-corruption strategy.

A government consultation on updating Schedule 6 ran between November and December 2016. During and after the consultation, the Gambling Commission engaged with governing bodies that had expressed interest in being included. This was to provide advice and determine whether their information management arrangements would make it possible to include them in this update. The consultation response was published in August last year. Where bodies were not able to be added this time, the commission is continuing to engage with them and to promote best practice. The intention is to help to establish arrangements that will enable more bodies to be added in a future update. In addition, the Sports Betting Integrity Forum’s key priorities include working with governing bodies to help to facilitate information sharing.

The following organisations met the criteria for inclusion and will be added to Part 3 of Schedule 6, subject to your Lordships’ approval. They are: United Kingdom Anti-doping Ltd, the Darts Regulation Authority, the Irish Rugby Football Union, the Rugby League European Federation, the Tennis Integrity Unit, Table Tennis England, Ladies European Tour for golf, and the International Paralympic Committee. The following bodies will have their names updated: London Marathon Events Ltd, World Rugby Ltd and European Professional Club Rugby.

I thank the Gambling Commission, sports bodies, betting operators and law enforcement for the excellent collaborative work they do to maintain the integrity of sports betting and uphold public trust in sport and enjoyment of sport. The regulatory regime that we have in the UK is recognised as being world-leading, but we can never be complacent. To support this collaborative work and maintain the UK’s international standing as a leader in this field, I commend the update to Schedule 6 to the Gambling Act 2005 to the House. I beg to move.

I will ask a question that is probably very naive. I was surprised that neither football nor any kind of horseracing or any of those activities was included in the list. Is there a reason for that, or have I completely missed the point? I declare an interest as chair of the National Mental Capacity Forum. When people become hypomanic, lose capacity and go into a phase of placing large numbers of bets in a completely uncontrolled way, it is often football and horseracing where they will be placing those bets and running up debts.

My Lords, I have given due attention to the proposals before us and can see exactly the logic that brings them to our attention. My eyebrows have been raised by certain of the details; I wish I knew how people might gamble in an inappropriate way in terms of playing darts, for example. A treble 20 is a difficult thing to be sure about under any circumstances. For all that, I can see that, if assurances have been given by the various bodies that they will come into line with the expectations under the terms of the Act, they should be added to the list.

My pulse quickened when I saw the European Rugby Cup Ltd mentioned, since the Llanelli Scarlets are leading the way for British involvement in the European cup quarter-finals. I am happy as a Welshman to just lord that over any English friends I have here in the House with me.

I have one question that perhaps the Minister can help me with. How do we get the necessary information that relates to companies registered in the Republic of Ireland? That stands out as being a little different from the others.

I am happy to note that the anti-doping people, UKAD, are now involved. Having met their representatives on more than one occasion, I can see how there is an overlap of interest, but also that it adds competence to the governing of these different sports and this activity.

All that having been said, I think that due process has been followed. When I was growing up, it was inconceivable that anybody would bet on any of these activities at all. Indeed, betting on horseracing was done illicitly in my youth. Round the corner we had Dai Double-Ticket, as we called him, and he ran the bets to the local bookkeeper on our behalf. We hoped that he would share the profits with us eventually. We have now come to the point where we can bet during matches and all the rest of it. It is so complicated now compared to what it was, and adequate machinery has to be put in place. The Gambling Act 2005 sought to do that and, a few years having passed, we must of course seek to update the information base upon which we operate the provisions of that Act. Apart from those little questions I have, I am happy to concur with the recommendation.

My Lords, just to follow on briefly, I am very pleased to see that, as in the Commons, there is a strong Welsh perspective being displayed on these matters today.

We all have a strong interest in sports betting integrity, and we had quite a debate on the issue during our discussion of the Data Protection Bill. I am pleased, therefore, to see the inclusion of UKAD in Part 3 of Schedule 6. In the Commons discussion of this order, there were some interesting debates about the inclusion of international bodies. Perhaps the Minister could slightly unpack the reason for those international bodies being included.

The last thing I want to say is that there is a distinction between Parts 2 and 3 of Schedule 6, and I wonder whether the Minister could explain why UKAD is included in Part 3 but not in Part 2. I know that the Explanatory Memorandum goes into that to some extent, but not entirely. UKAD is an enforcement body, and it seems slightly strange that it is not going to be on the face of the statutory instrument.

My Lords, I am grateful to noble Lords for those questions. I will start with an easy one, that of the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay. The reason we have not talked about football or horseracing today is that they are already on the old schedule, which includes the British Horseracing Authority, the Football Association, the Scottish, Welsh and Irish associations, and FIFA.

The noble Lords, Lord Clement-Jones and Lord Griffiths, asked why an Irish body is included. We are pleased that the UK is home to some international sports bodies and that some of the world’s greatest sports events have been held, and will continue to be held, here. Therefore, it is only right that all relevant international sports bodies, such as the Tennis Integrity Unit, the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee and the Commonwealth Games Federation, are listed under Schedule 6. Tackling corruption and protecting the integrity of sport requires a co-ordinated approach at the domestic and international level. We must remember also that the threat faced is often cross-border in nature.

The noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, asked about the differences in Parts 2 and 3 of Schedule 6. To be honest, I am not sure what the answer to that is. If it is okay with him, it will be better if I write to him afterwards and get it right.

The Gambling Commission’s statutory objectives include keeping gambling fair, open and free of crime. Millions of bets are placed on sport each day and a great deal of work goes on behind the scenes to ensure that the integrity of betting on sport is maintained. Information sharing plays a central part in preventing corruption, and the order will help promote that. To support this excellent work and maintain the UK’s international standing as a leader in this field, I commend the update to Schedule 6 to the Gambling Act to the House. I am grateful for the support of noble Lords, and I hope that the House feels able to approve it.

Motion agreed.