New Report To Recommend Cuts In Online Casino Stakes
November 7, 2019
The influential All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) which focuses on gambling-related harm has recently issued an interim report that is critical of the gambling industry. Chair Carolyn Harris, a Labour Member of Parliament, has led a six-month enquiry which has seen evidence submitted by the gambling industry and addicts. Subsequent to the review process, Iain Duncan-Smith, influential member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group, commented: “It is outrageous that there are not stake limits online, that gamblers are still able to gamble using credit cards online and that operators are able to continue to offer inducements to the vulnerable without proper sanction”.
The key recommendations are as follows:
- There should be a £2 limit on on-line slot machines (matching the £2 stake limit introduced this year for fixed-odds betting terminals in betting shops)
- Punters should no longer be able to use their credit cards, and there should be affordability checks to protect them
- The use of incentives – such as bonuses and tickets to sports events for VIP account-holders – should be restricted
- Non-disclosure agreements – imposed by gambling companies to restrict communications by punters to the Gambling Commission – should no longer be used
Both the Conservatives and Labour are in favour of more regulation of the gambling industry, (annual revenues £5.6 billion), as the rise of on-line gambling has rendered obsolete the governing framework of the industry, the Gambling Act 2005. Both parties share the objective of protecting vulnerable people and children in an era where technological innovation has enhanced the opportunities of the gambling companies to promote their services to a wider audience.
The industry’s regulatory body, the Gambling Commission, is criticised as “not fit for purpose” by the APPG but the Commission refutes the criticism and makes clear that the APPG produced its interim report without inviting evidence from the Gambling Commission. The boss of the Gambling Commission, Neil McArthur, has invited the APPG to gain further insight into the measures the Commission is already taking to protect the vulnerable and to appreciate that there are other planned measures to implement in the coming months.
The outlook for betting companies in the UK does still look very difficult with further regulation seeming inevitable. Online casinos would seem to have most to fear from the APPG initial findings but their recommendations are still a long way from becoming law.