In a move that is likely to have far reaching consequences for licensed operators in the UK, the Gambling Related Harm All Parliamentary Group, have called for a maximum £2 bet limit on all online slot machines, in a bid to tackle gambling related harm.
In a Press Release issued by the group this morning, the GRH APPG have called for stake and deposits limits to be introduced on online gambling products, in its interim report into the online gambling sector. The 45 page interim report can be viewed here in its entirety.
Back on April 1st 2019, the maximum stake for fixed odd betting terminals was reduced to £2 from the previous ceiling of £100, after much lobbying and also concerns among politicians and responsible gambling charities, that these machines found in betting shops, were helping to fuel problem gambling.
Looking at the interim report produced by the GRH APPG, it is apparent that bet and deposit limits in the online environment were next on the list to be reviewed, with the first inquiry to be taken up by the group being online gambling.
As a result a number of key recommendations have been made by the group, as well as the introduction of a maximum bet limit, these also include reducing the number of incentives allowed to be made to players perceived as VIPs and new gambling legislation being introduced to parliament.
The Press Release goes on to state that the Gambling Commission in its current state is not fit for purpose and needs to urgently improve its standards in the area of online gambling.
Operators licensed by the Gambling Commission, already have a number of tools and utilities made available to players, to ensure they gamble responsibly. Indeed this is a requirement as part of being able to have a license to operate within the UK. These include an option to take a break from an operator and also the ability to set deposit limits on player accounts.
By introducing a mandatory deposit and bet size limits across the board, it will only drive players to offshore operators, which do not have the protection of the the UK Gambling Commission. In short, any such move to introduce a £2 bet limit will also have the likely cause of the vast majority of UK licensed operators to take the decision to no longer operate in the UK market place.
Commenting on the report, Iain Duncan Smith MP who is the Vice-Chair, GRH APPG, said: “Gambling addiction is becoming a public health crisis. It is clear from this inquiry that the powers of the Gambling Commission need to be significantly strengthened. For too long, online gambling operators have exploited vulnerable gamblers to little or no retribution from the regulator.”
“We cannot continue to fail vulnerable gamblers. I therefore urge the Commission to look into this issue in greater depth. 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.”