Chapter 3: Gambling meaning and categorisations: are English definitions sufficiently inclusive for the protection of minors?
‘I played, literary once I went through with twenty pounds and was like “Oh my God; I lost twenty pounds”’ (14, female) The legal definitions of gambling delimitate the overall scope of the Gambling Commission’s jurisdiction, but their statutory categorisation dictates the extent of social responsibilities that licensees must introduce and determines which forms are permitted to be accessed by minors. This chapter elucidates how gambling is defined in the current legal context and how it differs from popular and cultural understanding. The inclusions and exclusions are then scrutinised against the background of individual characteristics to prove that the Act’s division of gambling into ‘soft’, ‘medium’ and ‘hard’ forms is undesirable as it only partially corresponds to the relative riskiness of the different types of gambling products. It further exposes how definitions are underpinned by a narrow understanding of gambling-related harm and highlights unexpected consequences of legal categorisations.
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