A group of MPs has produced a brand new interim report that details proposals aimed at restricting the online casino sector in the United Kingdom.
This includes a proposal that seeks the introduction of a limit on max stakes in online casino games. This would see online casino games being subjected to the same £2 (or $2.58) max stake that is being enforced for fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) in the UK.
According to the report, “If they are not acceptable in land-based venues they should not be allowed online.”
The sweeping report was assembled as a result of an inquiry into these concerns, which has taken place over the past six months. The all-party parliamentary group (APPG) that created this report is bannered by Carolyn Harris (Labour), Iain Duncan Smith (Conservatives), and Ronnie Cowan (SNP).
The APPG spoke to industry operators about what level of gambling is affordable. However, the group was left with an inadequate response.
Harris also commented about the UK Gambling Commission, saying that it is not suitable in its existing form to deal with issues in a digital age. She is calling for the UKGC to be provided wider-reaching powers as it needs to “urgently improve its standards in the area of online gambling”.
The UKGC issued an immediate response, saying:
“We are disappointed that this report has been released before we have been given the chance to give evidence.”
The UKGC argued many of the claims that were indicated in the report. It gave an example of a recent speech by its Chief Executive Neil McArthur. He spoke about the commission’s plans to launch curtailments on online stakes, VIP accounts, ad technology, and more. It also was crucial that the APPG published this interim report without considering any of the commission’s evidence.
The primary recommendations of the report include launching a max stake limit on online slot games of £2 ($2.58), halting the use of credit cards to deposit funds to online gambling platforms, and limiting VIP accounts.
The use of VIP accounts often sees problem gamblers amass huge debts after being offered enticing perks such as gifts and cashback bonuses by operators.
Minor recommendations include having online operators bolster their systems to identify a problem or underage gamblers, aside from simplifying their terms and conditions.
Sharing his thoughts on these recommendations, Iain Duncan Smith, who is the vice-chair of the APPG, said:
“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.”