Minister Philp Addressed Online Slots, Casinos, National Lottery

Online casinos and in particular slots will be the focus of the upcoming White Paper, suggested Gambling Minister Chris Philp at the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) Committee meeting today. Philp also told MPs any potential damage payment to Camelot would affect money for good causes.

In the White Paper’s Crosshairs

Minister Philp was asked about any assessment of gambling harms related to lotteries, including instant games and he responded by referring to a 2018 health survey which placed risks for developing problem gambling from draw-based and scratch games to about 0.9% and 1.4% respectively, much lower than other activities where risk is ranging from 2.7% to 12.7%.

The Gambling Minister then singled out online slots and online casinos expressing his concerns that these were the two activities “where people can get really heavily addicted to gambling” that are going to be addressed with the upcoming White Paper.

He also singled out the National Lottery as the biggest form of gambling that generates about £4 billion ($4.76 billion) a year in gross yield, contributing to about a quarter to a third of all gambling in the UK. MPs were also told that around 30% of the public play the National Lottery every month, while around 40% to 45% gamble in some form.

Less Money for Good Causes

On the subject of ongoing wrangle around the fourth National Lottery license, committee Chair Julian Knight raised the issue of damage payments if Camelot succeeds and Minister Philp suggested that in case the court orders the Gambling Commission to pay damages to Camelot, payments will come from the money for good causes.

Gambling Commission CEO Andrew Rhodes recently gave evidence to the DCMS select committee in parliament and admitted that the legal dispute could rob arts and health projects, as well as heritage sites and sports grants, with as much as £600 million ($714 million) if Camelot is successful in its legal case for damages against the Gambling Commission.

Owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Camelot is determined to continue with its legal battle despite the recent setback from the High Court ruling which allowed the Gambling Commission to award Allwyn the fourth National Lottery license.

Minister Philp was also asked to provide a straight answer whether the public is prohibited from using credit cards to buy National Lottery tickets and he had to elaborate on his initial “yes” answer by explaining that such is the case only when a customer wants to buy a lottery ticket on its own.

In case a lottery ticket is purchased as a basket with other goods, then credit cards can be used to buy National Lottery tickets as it was a practical consideration to not have to ask a consumer to separate their shopping if it included a lottery ticket.