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Gambling regulation: problem gambling and protecting the vulnerable

Gambling is a leisure activity that half of adults in Britain participate in, but which can have significant adverse effects on people when it becomes addictive. These effects include mental health problems, relationship difficulties, large-scale financial loss and, in some cases, crime or suicide. The way that people gamble changes in response to social and technological developments, such as increasing online and mobile phone gambling, which means the risks of gambling problems can change quickly.

The Gambling Commission regulates gambling in Great Britain. It seeks to ensure that gambling is fair and safe, including a statutory objective to protect children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling. It also works with other organisations that seek to ensure gambling is safe, including its sponsor department (the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport), local authorities and other regulatory bodies.

Our work will examine the extent to which gambling regulation effectively and proportionately protects people from gambling-related harms and addresses emerging risks. It will focus on the role and work of the Commission, but also consider the wider regulatory framework it operates within. We will assess: whether the Commission has a good understanding of the problems it is trying to address and what it is trying to achieve; whether the Commission is both intervening directly and working effectively with others to make gambling safer; and whether the Commission has the powers, capacity and expertise it needs to address emerging risks and respond to social and technological changes.