Britain’s Labour party is launching an attack on online gambling, promising people they would put restraints on the industry if they are voted to power. The shadow culture secretary Tom Watson promised that they would put limits on the stake and online spends for gamblers.
Watson said that new and tougher rules would help in tackling the “hidden epidemic” of online gambling in Britain and the existing laws are not fit for the digital age. Apart from limits on total spends and stakes, Labour will also push for restrictions on the speed of play. The government said that it reviews regulations constantly and acts when needed.
Talking at the Institute for Public Policy Research in London on Thursday, the deputy leader of Labour will mention the case of a young gambling addict with a brain injury. He lost over 210,000 pounds to online betting.
The UK Gambling Commission also recognizes the issue of gambling addiction. It suggests that Britain has the largest regulated market for online gambling in the world. The market generated 4.7 billion pounds in revenue for betting companies per year, and its size is expected to grow. The commission also noted that there are no restrictions on speed of play, prizes, and online stakes right now.
Watson said that problem gambling should be counted as a “public health emergency.” He said that gambling is highly regulated offline, but online gambling is facing several lacks of controls. This is making vulnerable consumers suffering major losses. He said that online companies have the responsibility to protect their consumers from placing unaffordable bets. He noted that the operators are neglecting to take care of their customers or perform their due diligence too slowly.
Watson also said that we need to introduce a culture of limits put down on internet gambling, with limits on speed, stake and spend that will help in safeguarding the customers. Labour said that it wants to create a new category in current legislation, i.e., the 2005 Gambling Act, that will tackle online betting. He is launching a consultation to gather information about online video games and gambling. They will also cover online loot boxes. A Remote Gambling Association spokesman said that they fully embrace the need to move faster to tackle problem gambling through effective regulation based on innovation. The commission said that it would consult on the limits. Their review suggests that online firms have significant data to identify problem gamblers but said that the online industry has been making slower progress than expected.