Report Asks for Online Gamblers to Prove they can Afford to Lose
by Glenn Baird - August 5, 2020
A report published by the Social Market Foundation (SMF) thinktank has called for a number of changes to gambling law in the UK, with the standout measure being a cap of £100 per month unless you can prove you can afford to lose more.
The report is yet another example of the current demand for change within the UK’s gambling industry. Along with other recommendations the primary calls for change are as follows:
A £100-per-month “soft cap” on online losses.
Tax breaks for firms that move onshore.
Limits on how much can be staked online.
A regulatory shake-up, including a new ombudsman.
A kitemarking system for firms that uphold standards.
A clearer sanctions regime for those that don’t.
The report calls for stricter limits on the maximum wager for online slots. A move of £2-£5, that help to bring the online market back in line with the changes made to Fixed Odds Betting Machines.
“Remote gambling is on the rise, yet remains outside the same controls applied to its land-based equivalents,” the SMF said.
“It makes no sense that the same ‘obligation’ to reduce harm through limits to stake and speed should not be applied to an online sector which provides the most accessible content of all.”
The soft cap limit of £100 per month would be applied to everyone, meaning that anyone who wants to gamble more would need to have their finances checked by a financial ombudsman first.
The Betting & Gaming Council (BGC) argues that its members already carry out finical checks on all their customers:
“We disagree with the suggestion of an arbitrary and random low cap on spending and can think of no other area of the economy where the government determines how much an individual can spend,” the BGC said.
“Measures must be proportionate, evidence-led and fully thought through so as not to jeopardise the 100,000 jobs the industry supports or the over £3bn in tax revenues it generates for the Exchequer.”
The report also sees the importance in providing tax breaks for operators that base themselves in the UK. Just now many operators base themselves off shore in places like Malta, in part because the rate of tax is more favourable and also because there are fewer banking restrictions for companies that work within the gambling industry.
This move would see more money staying within the UK, but is contrary to other policies that look to hinder the financial gain of gambling firms.