The government has stepped back from banning illegal gambling sites from accessing UK consumers.
During a Gambling Bill Report Stage debate in the House of Lords, Baroness Howe’s amendment addressing the need to prevent illegal gambling sites accessing UK consumers was voted down by 185 to 171, although the government will look at ways to block financial transactions with illegal sites.
A second amendment, brought by Lord Browne of Belmont, to consult and implement self-exclusion for remote gambling, was agreed on, although there was no need to vote.
Celia Bowring, operations director for Christian charity CARE, said, ‘Praise God that there has been a bit of progress made on the aim of the two amendments — to protect problem gamblers.
‘Of course, there is need for ongoing intercession about the way gambling is becoming so common, easily accessible and promoted in our society. It causes so many heart-breaking situations’.
This comes after the Salvation Army published a response to the Association of British Bookmakers, which earlier this year issued a code of conduct to make sure operators have a set of guidelines to protect problem gamblers.
A spokesman for the Salvation Army said, ‘This is the least the gambling industry could do and it clearly shows they recognise there is a problem. This approach is based on harm minimisation. It’s a step, but a self-regulatory code will not help protect vulnerable individuals.
‘But more needs to be done to tackle the devastating impact of gambling addiction due to these highly attractive and addictive machines’.