ERG urges Government to ‘provide public reassurance´on children and online gaming
Equality Rights Group has asked Government for public reassurances following the UK Gambling Commission’s recent announcement claiming that children may be lured onto betting websites through free online games. Consequently, the UK body will be reviewing the rules on gambling products that may appeal to children.
‘Gibraltar must immediately do the same,’ says ERG. ‘We can’t risk either our gaming industry or Gibraltar paying a reputational price due to inaction,’ says ERG.
‘We’re concerned for children – but we’re also concerned that we should avoid criticism and vulnerability of an important economic player as is the gaming industry for Gibraltar,’ Chairman of Equality Rights Group, Felix Alvarez, explained in the opening to a press statement.’
‘We really must be on the ball when it comes to protecting children, a wider issue we have been following up with Government for a number of years now, without much further movement having occurred. The rights of children can’t be left at the bottom of the pile any longer!
‘Gibraltar’s Gambling Act 2005, whilst stipulating minimum ages for participation, does not contain explicit enough provisions to protect against this kind of back-door enticement of children. This really must be put right without delay – especially as the UK media coverage on such vulnerability is likely to be prominent given active campaigning on the disclosures by prominent British journalists.
‘Up to June this year, Gibraltar has licensed 29 gambling operators, and a visit to such sites often provides brightly-coloured, Disney-like titles and accompanying graphics such as ‘FluffyToo Mega Jackpot’, ‘Unicorn Bliss’, ‘Batman’, ‘The Three Musketeers’, ‘Penguin Vacation’ and many more alluring fantasy or story themes. This is an area of public awareness we must act to quickly assuage,’ Alvarez said.
‘Whilst the mechanisms for access to such cost-free games may potentially require registration, we are, nonetheless, conscious of the possible ease with which such barriers may be circumvented by today’s tech-savvy youngsters.
‘This matter is troubling, and I have written to the Chief Minister, the Minister for Financial Services and Gaming, and the Minister for Justice urging Government to give public assurances that it will put in motion all necessary measures to ensure that both the rights of children are effectively protected and that the reputation of the Gibraltar gaming industry is not compromised by a relaxed approach on this matter.