Nervous gambling sector holds its breath as govt moves towards maximum casino stakes and ban on free bets and VIP packages
The Prime Minister is set to announce restrictions on the industry as part of the review of the 2005 Gambling Act amid concerns current regulations require changes to accommodate the growth of online betting.
The Government confirmed it will publish a White Paper into gambling reform in coming weeks.
The Times reported proposals to prohibit gambling companies from shirt sponsorship were set to be rejected in favour of reaching a voluntary agreement with Premier League clubs, while also keeping the option of legislation in reserve.
A spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport refused to comment on speculation, but added: “We are undertaking the most comprehensive review of gambling laws in 15 years to ensure they are fit for the digital age.
“We will be publishing a White Paper as part of a review of gambling legislation in the coming weeks.”Govt spokesperson
The Government will reportedly announce measures including online casinos having maximum stakes of between £2 and £5, a ban on free bets and VIP packages for those who incur heavy losses, as well as “non-intrusive” affordability checks.
Firms will also have to remove online features which increase the level of risk for customers, while the Gambling Commission will be granted new powers along with extra funding from increased fees paid by the industry.
The commission recently released figures showing online gambling was at its highest ever rate in the UK, with one in four Britons making wagers.
The research published on April 26 said 25.7% of 4,018 people aged 16 or over surveyed had gambled online in the past four weeks, up from 23.8% over the same period in the previous year and up from 18.5% in the previous five years.
The survey, which asked respondents about gambling on four occasions between June 2021 and March 2022, also showed 43% had gambled in general in the previous four weeks, which was a drop from the pre-pandemic participation rates of 47% in March 2020.
The most popular form of online gambling was sports betting, in particular football, outside of the National Lottery and other lotteries.
Anyone concerned about their gambling, or that of a loved one, can visit BeGambleAware.org for free, confidential advice and support.
The National Gambling Helpline is available on 0808 8020 133 and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.