Uk Labour Party to call for overhaul of gambling act

News on 28 Feb 2019

The United Kingdom’s Labour Party will reportedly propose policy that will impose strict online gambling limits and affordability checks under a new online gambling category within the 2005 Gambling Act, The Guardian and reports.

Tom Watson, deputy leader of the Labour Party and the Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is leading the call for a “radical rethink of gambling laws” ahead of his speech at the Institute for Public Policy Research in London later today.

“Whereas gambling in the offline world is highly regulated, the lack of controls on online gambling is leading to vulnerable consumers suffering huge losses,” Watson said.

“We need to see a culture of limits introduced to internet gambling: a system of thresholds placed on the spend, stake and speed… that will give safeguards to consumers.”

In addition to online gambling, Watson intends launching a consultation on the link between online video games and gambling, specifically loot boxes.

The Remote Gambling Association (RGA), in response, said: “We fully embrace the need to move faster to tackle problem gambling through effective regulation based on innovation, evidence and customer data and we are committed to working with the government and opposition to achieve that goal.”

“We support moves towards affordability and targeted intervention to ensure that those at risk of harm are identified without restricting or penalising those who enjoy their play and gamble responsibly.  Online operators continually monitor patterns of play making thousands of interventions each month to prevent harm occurring and we will input fully to this responsible gambling policy process.

“The online environment has the huge advantage of providing a complete overview of player spending patterns and behaviours, using this information can prove to be a more effective and more sophisticated way to tackle problem gambling and thereby avoid arbitrary limits that risk driving customers to the unregulated and illegal gambling market.”

The UK Gambling Commission’s recently released ‘Gambling Participation in 2018: behaviour, awareness and attitudes’ survey reported a 1 percent rise in gambling participation compared to December 2017 (see previous reports).

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