Bishop of St Albans asks about gambling, credit cards, young people

On 30th December the Bishop of St Albans received written answers to questions on gambling; use of credit cards, young people, and conflicts of interest of firms bidding for contracts to treat people with mental health issues:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Government Response to the House of Lords Gambling Industry Committee Report: Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry, published on 8 December, what plans they have to mandate a ban on all gambling transactions via credit cards. [HL11492]

Baroness Barran: In April this year, new licensing conditions came into effect which banned both online and land-based gambling operators from accepting payments from credit cards (including via e-wallets) for gambling services. National Lottery products already could not be purchased with a credit card online.

National Lottery and society lottery products can still be purchased via credit cards in retailers. Following the Gambling Commission’s consultation on the use of credit cards for gambling, requiring retailers to identify and block credit card payments for lottery products was seen as disproportionate since they are often purchased alongside other items as part of a wider shop. National Lottery retailers are also trained in preventing excessive play, and lottery products are consistently shown to be associated with lower problem gambling rates than commercial gambling products.


The Lord Bishop of St Albans:  To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to Government Response to the House of Lords Gambling Industry Committee Report: Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry, published on 8 December, what assessment they have made of why the prevalence of gambling among those aged 11 to 16 has increased. [HL11546]

Baroness Barran: Data published by the Gambling Commission shows the percentage of 11-16 year olds who had taken part in gambling in the past seven days fell from 23% in 2011 to 11% in 2019. The 2020 survey was truncated by Covid-19, so is not directly comparable, but data has been published which shows a 9% past-week participation rate for England and Scotland. An increase in the rate of gambling participation amongst children has not been recorded since 2018, when it rose to 14%, from 12% in the previous year. The majority of gambling participation by children is on forms of gambling which are legal for them to participate in, including private bets with friends and family, or low stake gaming machines.

The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. The Review will be wide-ranging and evidence led, and aims to make sure that the regulation of gambling is fit for the digital age. The government remains committed to protecting children from gambling related harm, and is inviting specific evidence on children’s access to gambling, including on children’s access to Category D slot machines, the effectiveness of age controls, protections for young adults and the age limit for society lotteries.


The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Government Response to the House of Lords Gambling Industry Committee Report: Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry, published on 8 December, what plans they have to ensure that any company that (1) was previously connected to, or (2) has a conflict of interest with, the gambling industry is not procured by NHS Digital to carry out the 2021 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey. [HL11491]

Lord Bethell: Crown Commercial Services, through their RM6018 Research Marketplace Dynamic Purchasing System, ran a Call for Competition (CFC) on behalf of NHS Digital to put in place a contract for the provision of the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2021.

The CFC requested bidders to declare any conflict of interest, which as part of the tender process we would have subsequently conducted due diligence on. In this case we not aware of any such conflicts of interest for bidders. As of 18 December 2020, this is a live procurement.