The UK government is making an unprecedented decision to update its gambling laws to cater to the ever growing digital age.

The move comes after a released government study unveiled an under age controversy that swept the nation in August 2020.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has launched a review of gambling laws to ensure they are fit for the new online age of today. In a statement on Tuesday he communicated the following statement:

“Whilst millions gamble responsibly, the Gambling Act is an analogue law in a digital age. From an era of having a flutter in a high street bookmaker, casino, racecourse or seaside pier, the industry has evolved at breakneck speed.

“This comprehensive review will ensure we are tackling problem gambling in all its forms to protect children and vulnerable people. It will also help those who enjoy placing a bet to do so safely.

“This builds upon our clear track record of introducing tough measures to protect people from the risk of gambling harm – banning the use of credit cards, launching tighter age verification checks and cutting the maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals.”

The Gambling Act, which has not been updated since being introduced in 2005 under Tony Blair’s cabinet, will see that the National lottery raises its minimum age to 18, effective October 2021, and also proposes tighter restrictions on gaming advertising and online stake limits. This comes after Scotland said it would ban all under 18s from playing the lottery in a move to curtail underage gambling.

The news has seen mixed responses from critics, with many flocking to social media to express disdain for the sudden move. One user on Twitter noted that the government was trying to be too generic in its revision, saying:

Not all forms of gambling are the same. Slot games the player can’t win in the long run: there’s nothing they can do to overcome the edge of the casino. But in sports betting he can. He can do more research, study it more thoroughly etc. Please don’t bundle these two in together.

With another user commenting on limiting the amount of advertising online.

All online ads should be time limited until after 10pm. All signage & overt sponsorship of football & other leisure & entertainment entities should be banned.

However, there was some praise seen with the news of the upcoming changes, with another user writing

Like the approach, and looking forward to the results.

Talks will continue throughout the week as the government reviews its policies on how to update its laws for the “digital age.” The call for evidence will run for 16 weeks and will close on 31 March 2021.

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