The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has called on the UK Government to prioritize child protection in its upcoming Gambling White Paper.
The White Paper is part of the government's Gambling Act Review, led by the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) which looks to assess the 2005 Gambling Act and propose reforms.
It will cover a wide range of areas, including new rules on advertising and bonusing, stake and spend limits and additional protections for younger adults.
BGC chief executive Michael Dugher featured the organization's accomplishments and hopes that the Government will place the protection of underage individuals - especially from black market gambling - "front and center".
He said, "We strongly support the Government's Gambling Review, which highlighted the protection of children and vulnerable people in a fair and open gambling economy as one of the Government's main priorities. We therefore hope that child protection will be front and centre of the forthcoming white paper."
"The BGC and our members will continue drive further changes to prevent under-18s and other vulnerable groups from being exposed to gambling advertising online.
"The regulated betting and gaming industry is determined to promote safer gambling, which is in stark contrast to the unsafe and growing online black market, which has none of the safeguards which are commonplace among BGC members."
The standards body was established in 2019 and since then 15 child protection measures have already been passed, with further measures planned in the coming months.
To date, its successes include the £10m ($13m) Young People's Gambling Harm Prevention Programme, which is delivered to children, teachers and youth workers across the UK by safer gambling charities GamCare and YGAM.
Additionally, BGC members enforced new age gating rules for ads on social media, preventing anyone aged 24 and below from viewing them.
Its efforts seem to be really paying off. One operator reported a 96% drop in views from users aged 18 to 24 in the final quarter of 2020, and based from a recent report by the Gambling Commission, the rate of problem gambling for people aged 16 to 24 has decreased by 50%.
On another note, the percentage of young people who admitted to have gambled in the past seven days declined from 23% in 2011 to 11% in 2019. Despite these triumphs, Dugher believes now is not the time to relax.
Dugher said, "It is clear that the steps BGC members have taken over the previous two years are now providing results. Nevertheless, we are not complacent, and protecting young people remains our top priority as we continue raising standards across the regulated industry.
The BGC and our members will continue drive further changes to prevent under-18s and other vulnerable groups from being exposed to gambling advertising online. The regulated betting and gaming industry is determined to promote safer gambling, which is in stark contrast to the unsafe and growing online black market, which has none of the safeguards which are commonplace among BGC members."