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The UK government has not committed itself to stricter gambling advertising rules despite a parliamentary inquiry pushing for increased regulation.

The government today published its response to a report from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) gambling regulation inquiry, which urged further action to restrict gambling advertising.

This included calls for a more pre-cautionary approach, and a reduction of in-stadium gambling ads through the upcoming cross-sport gambling sponsorship code of conduct.

The government confirmed this upcoming code will require venues to dedicate a proportion of in-stadium sponsorship to safer gambling messaging.

The report’s response made no commitment to increased action in advertising regulation itself, beyond what was already stated in the gambling white paper.

However, the government said it would continue to monitor the evidence base around the impact of advertising on gambling behaviours.

If there is further evidence of negative impacts, the government said it would take appropriate action.

This is similar to the line taken by the country’s gambling minister during a parliamentary debate on the topic in March.

Government says affordability checks to be ‘proportionate’

The report also addressed the topic of the planned affordability checks, which have widely been considered to be the most controversial aspect of the government’s reforms.

The inquiry had initially called for these checks to be minimally intrusive and as frictionless as possible.

The report’s recommendation that the Gambling Commission establish a pilot scheme to trial the checks before a wider rollout was adopted in February.

The checks will be proportionate, said the government, stating that the Commission would lay out its consultation response in “due course” outlining how this will be achieved.

Customers will not be impacted by the pilot period, it added, which will be used to work out how the data sharing and credit checks would work in practice.

An interim solution is being worked on by both DCMS and the government to ensure parity and consistency in how industry checks are applied.

It was reported in the national media that checks during the interim period would be triggered at £5,000 in gambling spend per month and £25,000 annually.

This, while significantly higher than what was recommended in the white paper, was in line with prior UKGC statements.

There was previous criticism that current licence requirements on affordability checks in the UK were seeing checks applied on an ad-hoc and inconsistent basis.

The Gambling Commission will also continue to gather data that will inform the final thresholds and definitions of losses for implementation following the trial period.

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