The British government has commenced a review of gambling machines and social responsibility measures in the UK with the stated aim of balancing responsible growth in the industry with the protection of consumers and communities.

The review was launched Monday by Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch, who noted that the British gambling market has changed significantly since the introduction of the 2005 Gambling Act.

“Nine years on from the Act’s implementation, the gambling industry has evolved significantly. The gaming machine market has grown, gambling products are being advertised on a greater scale than ever before, and there has been a shift towards online gambling which is now the industry’s largest sector,” Crouch said.

“The Government supports a healthy gambling industry that generates investment and employment. But we must also be mindful of building an industry and wider economy that works for all - families and individuals cannot contribute to the wealth of the nation while they are rebuilding lives affected by problem gambling.”

A key focus of the review will be on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) and the maximum stake and prize levels currently applicable to the machines, as well as their placement within communities. It will also look at the effectiveness of current social responsibility measures in minimising the risk of gambling related harm across the industry, and the issue of gambling advertising.

In a Call for Evidence which closes on December 4th, the government is inviting evidence-based proposals from interested parties on any of the areas referenced, or any other issues that are felt to be relevant.

Commenting on the review, Gambling Commission chief executive Sarah Harrison said she was very pleased that the review has been announced and that a clear timetable has been set, offering an opportunity “for all those with an interest in gambling to ensure their voices are heard”.

“As the regulator of gambling in Britain and committed to keeping gambling fair, safe and crime-free, we will be submitting our advice to Government in line with our statutory duties,” Harrison added.

“Our advice, which will be informed by our expert advisors the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board, will be made public after it is submitted. Obviously it would be inappropriate to offer a running commentary as the review progresses.”

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