Online casinos in the UK should be subject to maximum stake limits similar to the £2 limits imposed on fixed-odds betting terminals, according to a report released by a cross-party group of legislators.
In wide-ranging report, the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on gambling-related harm – whose members include high-profile Conservatives such as Iain Duncan Smith – called for a raft of new regulatory measures. These include: a £2 stake limit on online slot machines, an end to betting by credit card, and restrictions on VIP accounts. The report also calls for an investigation into the use of non-disclosure agreements.
“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,” said Duncan Smith, the vice-chair of the APPG.
With a general election set for 12 December, both the governing Conservatives and the main opposition Labour party look to be on board with tighter regulation. Labour, which liberalised gambling laws under Tony Blair, has already said it favours a stricter regime, while the prime minister, Boris Johnson, is thought to be sympathetic to arguments for a stricter regulatory framework for the sector.
The interim report from the APPG, led by Labour’s Carolyn Harris, Duncan Smith and Ronnie Cowan, is the result of a six-month inquiry including evidence sessions with gambling companies and addicts.
Harris also criticised the UK Gambling Commission in the report, contending that it required greater powers to sanction companies. “We are disappointed that this report has been released before we have been given the chance to give evidence,” said a spokesperson for the Gambling Commission, cited in the Guardian. “The report does not reflect our considerable action and progress on most of the areas of concern set out in the report.”