U.K. to Review Gambling Laws Around Advertising and Online Bets

The U.K. announced a “wide-ranging” review of gambling laws, which could see it crack down on online bets and advertising.

Ministers will examine rules around internet stakes and promotions as well as extra protections for young people and the powers of the regulator, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said in a statement Tuesday.

“The Gambling Act is an analogue law in a digital age,” Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said in the emailed statement, alluding to the soaring popularity of online betting offered by companies likeFlutter Entertainment Plc andWilliam Hill Plc. The review was pledged in the Conservative Party’s 2019 manifesto.

In the last two years the U.K. has banned the use of credit cards in gambling, tightened age verification checks, and capped stakes on in-store fixed-odds betting terminals. The government said it will take evidence to inform the review until March 31.

As part of the announcement, the U.K. said it will raise the minimum age for playing the National Lottery to 18 from 16.

The Betting and Gaming Council, which represents the industry, welcomed the review. “I hope ministers will focus in with laser-like precision on problem gamblers and those at risk,” association leader and former U.K. lawmaker Michael Dugher said in a statement. He added the review should consider bookies’ contribution to the U.K. economy, including 3.2 billion pounds ($4.3 billion) per year in tax.

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