Bishop of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich asks about reasons for increasing numbers of gambling machines

The Bishop of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich asked a question on the rationale behind increasing the number of gambling machines on 3rd May 2023, in response to the government’s proposals on gambling reform:

The Lord Bishop of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich: My Lords, I echo the concerns that have been expressed about advertising, particularly the susceptibility of youngsters to it, but I want to raise a different question. Can the Minister explain the rationale for increasing the number of gambling machines, which are already deeply unpopular with local authorities, require more policing due to the antisocial behaviour associated with them, and often, as was said by the previous speaker, are targeted at poorer areas?

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con, DCMS): Submissions to our call for evidence were clear that online slots are likely to be the highest risk products, hence the work outlined in the White Paper addressing the risks of those and other products. Restrictive regulations on the number of gaming machines in a venue no longer make sense when it is possible to use a smartphone to gamble anywhere, 24/7. In fact, they can increase harm by making players reluctant to take breaks. What is important is the quality of supervision and monitoring that customers receive in land-based venues. We are maintaining and strengthening the protections for customers that are required in these venues, and we are still requiring operators to offer customers different types of gambling opportunities.


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