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Written Question
Gambling: Advertising
Tuesday 27th February 2024

Asked by: Ronnie Cowan (Scottish National Party - Inverclyde)

Question to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment the Government has made of the adequacy of (a) voluntary and (b) self-regulatory efforts to limit the number of gambling advertisements.

Answered by Stuart Andrew - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)

In our approach to gambling advertising, we have struck a balanced and evidence-led approach which tackles aggressive advertising that is most likely to appeal to children, while recognising that advertising is an entirely legitimate commercial practice for responsible gambling firms.

There are robust rules in place to ensure that gambling advertising is socially responsible and that it cannot be targeted at or strongly appeal to children. This includes specific licence conditions for operators, including the requirement to abide by the UK Advertising Codes, which further regulate how gambling operators advertise. The UK Advertising Codes were strengthened in 2022, with new protections for children and vulnerable adults.

Voluntary measures on advertising implemented through the IGRG Code (now in its 7th edition) include a watershed ban on gambling adverts and ensuring operators’ advertising on social media platforms is targeted away from anyone below the age of 25.

We also welcomed the voluntary whistle-to-whistle ban on TV betting ads during live sports programmes, which was agreed by industry. According to figures from the Betting and Gaming Council, the ban reduced gambling advertisement views by children (age 4-17) by 70% over the full duration of live sporting programmes. We also welcomed the Premier League’s announcement that it will ban gambling sponsors from the front of shirts by the end of the 2025/26 season, and are working with a wider group of sports governing bodies to introduce a Code of Conduct on responsible gambling sponsorship.

Earlier this year, HM Government published a White Paper on gambling which outlined a comprehensive package of reforms to make gambling safer. This included measures to tackle the most aggressive and harmful advertising practices by preventing bonuses being constructed and targeted in harmful ways, giving customers more control over the marketing they receive, and introducing messaging about the risks associated with gambling.


Written Question
Gambling: Video Games
Wednesday 7th February 2024

Asked by: Ronnie Cowan (Scottish National Party - Inverclyde)

Question to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department plans to take steps to help prevent prevent a potential normalisation of gambling among young people via loot boxes in Apps and video games.

Answered by Julia Lopez - Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)

Following the Government response to the call for evidence on loot boxes in video games, the Government has welcomed new industry-led guidance that aims to address the concerns identified for all players, including young people.

Measures to protect players should ensure that the purchase of loot boxes should be unavailable to all children and young people unless enabled by a parent or guardian, and all players should have access to, and be aware of, spending controls and transparent information to support safe and responsible gameplay.

The Government has agreed a 12-month implementation period for the new guidance on loot boxes and has asked the industry, coordinated by Ukie, to report back to DCMS on the extent to which it has been implemented.

We will continue to keep our position on possible future legislative options under review, informed by academic scrutiny of the industry-led measures. We will provide a further update in due course, following the 12-month implementation period.

Under the Gambling Act 2005, gambling is defined as playing a game of chance for a prize of money or money’s worth. The prizes that can be won via most loot boxes do not have a monetary value, cannot be cashed-out, and are of value only within the context of the game. They therefore do not meet that definition. As set out in the Government’s response to the call for evidence, there are also a number of disadvantages to changing the definition of gambling including the likelihood of capturing unintended activities, creating logistical difficulties in increasing the remit of the Gambling Commission, and undermining gambling taxation.


Written Question
Gambling: Video Games
Wednesday 7th February 2024

Asked by: Ronnie Cowan (Scottish National Party - Inverclyde)

Question to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, on what evidential basis the decision not to define loot boxes as gambling as part of the Gambling White Paper was made.

Answered by Julia Lopez - Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)

Following the Government response to the call for evidence on loot boxes in video games, the Government has welcomed new industry-led guidance that aims to address the concerns identified for all players, including young people.

Measures to protect players should ensure that the purchase of loot boxes should be unavailable to all children and young people unless enabled by a parent or guardian, and all players should have access to, and be aware of, spending controls and transparent information to support safe and responsible gameplay.

The Government has agreed a 12-month implementation period for the new guidance on loot boxes and has asked the industry, coordinated by Ukie, to report back to DCMS on the extent to which it has been implemented.

We will continue to keep our position on possible future legislative options under review, informed by academic scrutiny of the industry-led measures. We will provide a further update in due course, following the 12-month implementation period.

Under the Gambling Act 2005, gambling is defined as playing a game of chance for a prize of money or money’s worth. The prizes that can be won via most loot boxes do not have a monetary value, cannot be cashed-out, and are of value only within the context of the game. They therefore do not meet that definition. As set out in the Government’s response to the call for evidence, there are also a number of disadvantages to changing the definition of gambling including the likelihood of capturing unintended activities, creating logistical difficulties in increasing the remit of the Gambling Commission, and undermining gambling taxation.


Written Question
Gambling: Video Games
Wednesday 7th February 2024

Asked by: Ronnie Cowan (Scottish National Party - Inverclyde)

Question to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has made an assessment of the relationship between (a) the use of in-game loot boxes and (b) the likelihood of future gambling related harms amongst young people.

Answered by Julia Lopez - Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)

Following the Government response to the call for evidence on loot boxes in video games, the Government has welcomed new industry-led guidance that aims to address the concerns identified for all players, including young people.

Measures to protect players should ensure that the purchase of loot boxes should be unavailable to all children and young people unless enabled by a parent or guardian, and all players should have access to, and be aware of, spending controls and transparent information to support safe and responsible gameplay.

The Government has agreed a 12-month implementation period for the new guidance on loot boxes and has asked the industry, coordinated by Ukie, to report back to DCMS on the extent to which it has been implemented.

We will continue to keep our position on possible future legislative options under review, informed by academic scrutiny of the industry-led measures. We will provide a further update in due course, following the 12-month implementation period.

Under the Gambling Act 2005, gambling is defined as playing a game of chance for a prize of money or money’s worth. The prizes that can be won via most loot boxes do not have a monetary value, cannot be cashed-out, and are of value only within the context of the game. They therefore do not meet that definition. As set out in the Government’s response to the call for evidence, there are also a number of disadvantages to changing the definition of gambling including the likelihood of capturing unintended activities, creating logistical difficulties in increasing the remit of the Gambling Commission, and undermining gambling taxation.


Written Question
Asylum: Temporary Accommodation
Tuesday 16th January 2024

Asked by: Ronnie Cowan (Scottish National Party - Inverclyde)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that local authorities are not adversely affected by the increase in the number of dispersal beds procured for asylum seekers; and whether his Department (a) is providing and (b) plans to provide additional financial support to local authorities to assist with associated costs.

Answered by Tom Pursglove - Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)

Full dispersal is a key priority for the Home Office, as well as the Government and aims to achieve a more fair and equitable accommodation spread of asylum seekers across the UK. We are committed to working closely with communities and stakeholders to ensure destitute asylum seekers are housed in safe, secure and suitable accommodation, and that they are treated with dignity while their asylum claim is considered.

There are monthly regional governance meetings, which offer an avenue for collaboration and opportunities for the Home Office, Accommodation providers, and local authorities to engage, drive progress and monitor the procurement of dispersed accommodation.

The Home Office agreed Full Dispersal Allocation Plans for every local authority and region in the UK, including Scotland and Wales, for 2023. The Home Office is exploring how to improve plans for 2024 and beyond, and local authorities will be contacted as soon as possible to discuss this in more detail.

It is recognised that housing asylum seekers, alongside the challenges of domestic homelessness, has further stretched local council services. In recognition of these pressures the Government has a significant funding package for local authorities who help to support asylum seekers in their area.


Written Question
Asylum: Temporary Accommodation
Monday 15th January 2024

Asked by: Ronnie Cowan (Scottish National Party - Inverclyde)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions officials in his Department have had with Scottish local authorities on the number of dispersed bed spaces for asylum seekers.

Answered by Tom Pursglove - Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)

The Home Office continues to discuss full dispersal allocation plans through monthly governance meetings with Scottish local authorities and partners.


Written Question
Cannabis and Synthetic Cannabinoids: Decriminalisation
Tuesday 28th November 2023

Asked by: Ronnie Cowan (Scottish National Party - Inverclyde)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to her contribution to the debate on Drugs Policy on 23 October 2018, Official Report, column 87WH, whether she plans to continue to recuse herself from issues relating to cannabis and synthetic cannabinoids.

Answered by Andrew Stephenson - Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

In line with normal procedures, my Rt. Hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, has declared these interests both to her previous departments and the Department for Health and Social Care, and recused herself in the usual way.


Written Question
Gambling: Advertising
Monday 27th November 2023

Asked by: Ronnie Cowan (Scottish National Party - Inverclyde)

Question to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make an assessment of the impact of the whistle-to-whistle ban on gambling advertising in football on the number of gambling messages displayed throughout televised football matches.

Answered by Stuart Andrew - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)

The Government welcomed the voluntary whistle-to-whistle ban on TV betting ads during live sports programmes, agreed by industry. According to figures from the Betting and Gaming Council, the ban reduced gambling advertisement views by children (age 4-17) by 70% over the full duration of live sporting programmes, with a 96% reduction in gambling TV advertising specifically during the restricted period.

As part of the Gambling review, consideration was given to a range of restrictions on gambling advertising. As set out in the white paper we have struck a balanced and evidence-led approach which tackles aggressive advertising and that which is most likely to appeal to children, while still allowing sports bodies to benefit commercially from deals with responsible gambling firms.


Written Question
Gambling: Advertising
Monday 27th November 2023

Asked by: Ronnie Cowan (Scottish National Party - Inverclyde)

Question to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department has made a recent assessment of the potential merits of implementing a ban on gambling advertising on all parts of football kits.

Answered by Stuart Andrew - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)

The Government welcomed the voluntary whistle-to-whistle ban on TV betting ads during live sports programmes, agreed by industry. According to figures from the Betting and Gaming Council, the ban reduced gambling advertisement views by children (age 4-17) by 70% over the full duration of live sporting programmes, with a 96% reduction in gambling TV advertising specifically during the restricted period.

As part of the Gambling review, consideration was given to a range of restrictions on gambling advertising. As set out in the white paper we have struck a balanced and evidence-led approach which tackles aggressive advertising and that which is most likely to appeal to children, while still allowing sports bodies to benefit commercially from deals with responsible gambling firms.


Written Question
Public Expenditure: Scotland
Wednesday 18th October 2023

Asked by: Ronnie Cowan (Scottish National Party - Inverclyde)

Question to the HM Treasury:

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the Barnett consequentials for Scotland are of the construction of the HS2 rail project.

Answered by John Glen - Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office

Funding for the HS2 programme has been provided to the Department for Transport’s (DfT). The Barnett formula has applied changes to the DfT’s budget to date as a result of funding for the HS2 programme, and the Scottish Government has received Barnett consequentials as a result.

At spending reviews, the Barnett formula is applied to changes in each UK government department’s DEL budget with the Barnett consequentials that arise then added to the devolved administrations’ baseline block grants.  As the Barnett formula is not applied to changes in funding for all the individual programmes within a UK government department’s DEL budget, the Barnett consequentials associated with these individual programmes cannot be identified.

The Barnett formula will continue to apply in the usual way as per the Statement of Funding Policy to any additional funding subsequently confirmed in this Spending Review period. All decisions on funding beyond the Spending Review 21 period will be taken at the next Spending Review.