The long awaited changes in the UK gambling regulations seem to be delayed once again. The changes announced back in 2020 are scheduled to be released soon in the form of a whitepaper. However, the changes proposed by the UK government are subjected to further consultation, meaning another delay is surely coming.
Although the proposed gambling laws changes are designed to make gambling safer, especially due to cases where gamblers have suffered significant losses and have even taken their own lives because of it, some regulations will further reviewed by the Ministers.
To remind ourselves of the proposed changes, some of the most notable ones included mandatory levies on gambling industry revenues, limitations for online slot machines that will range between £2 and £15, regulations to slow down online casino games and affordability checks, among others, of course.
The former Tory leader who chairs a cross-party parliamentary group examining gambling harms, Iain Duncan Smith, told the Guardian that there is a general concern about the white paper as putting off so many measures for consultation is “tantamount to doing nothing”.
One of the biggest concern is the there was no discussion regarding limits on stakes for online slot games, which are currently unlimited even though they are responsible for some of the highest addiction rates among all gambling products.
The consolation will revolve around enforcing limits of £2 for under-25s and the cap will be in line for customers of all ages on shop-based-fixed-odds betting terminals. However, the most notable change in the current laws is the affordability checks for gamblers making big losses alongside limitations on digital marketing endeavors by UK’s online casinos as per Casino Gambler.
All of the aforementioned changes will undergo further consultation within the legislative block in parliament, meaning these changes might see yet another significant delay in implementation. Speaking of which, the affordability checks will revolve around operators performing credit checks when a customer loses a certain amount of money as a result of their gambling activities.
So far, the lobbyists for the £11bn-a-year industry have campaigned hard against tougher checks that would require operators to demand proof of earnings. And just a quick reminder, the early draft of the whitepaper suggested credit checks for punters who lose £1,000 in a day or £2,000 over 90 days, which is what the lobbyists have campaigned against.
Ministers will likely consult with the UK Gambling Commission regarding how and when to perform such checks. After all, this is what is expected of them. That said, another changed that will undergo consultation is the curb on digital marketing campaigns offering “free bets” or casino bonuses to gamblers. The legislative backlog resulted from “Brexit” made it impossible to implement such changes without further consultations.