In the United Kingdom and a cross-party group of parliamentarians has reportedly called on the government to implement a wide range of measures that would dramatically transform the nation’s online gambling industry.
According to a report from the online gambling news domain at iGamingBusiness.com, the over 30 recommendations from the Gambling Related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group came as part of the findings of an almost year-long investigation the group conducted into the current state of the nation’s iGaming industry in which it heard from multiple stakeholders, ministers and members of the Gambling Commission.
iGamingBusiness.com reported that the eight-member body advocated an immediate blanket ban on online gambling advertisements and justified its approach by claiming that such an action would help to reduce the prevalence of gambling-related harms. The prestigious panel purportedly also called on the government to roll out this proposed prohibition beyond normal advertising channels and into areas such as football-based console games as these regularly feature associated branding on the virtual shirts of teams.
Should such a move prove unpalatable and the source reported that the Gambling Related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group suggested that the United Kingdom could introduce advertising controls similar to those already utilized in Spain where such activities are highly restricted rather than being banned outright.
Jt was further reported that the body additionally called on the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson to launch an urgent review into the use by online gambling operators of bonuses and incentives while detailing that it was of the view that such inducements should be proscribed. It purportedly moreover called for a similar enquiry and subsequent prohibition concerning ‘highly problematic’ VIP schemes as these have been ‘cited as a factor in seven out of ten regulatory penalties issued to companies by the Gambling Commission for failures to prevent problem gambling.’
Reportedly read a statement from the Gambling Related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group…
“These schemes drive profit for the industry and the Gambling Commission itself has seen the dependence of the gambling industry on VIP customers of those who are disproportionately likely to be addicts. One firm is said to have taken 83% of all deposits from just 2% of its customers through VIP schemes.”
iGamingBusiness.com reported that the body cited in-play betting, online roulette and slots as particularly problematic online products and urged the government to initiate a vital review into how these games are being tested, regulated and classified concerning their addictiveness. It furthermore purportedly asserted that such processes currently appear to be heavily weighted in favor of the industry with consumers not being given enough accurate information regarding their chances of winning or the elements of random chance or skill involved.
The Gambling Related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group was led by Labour stalwart Carolyn Harris (pictured) and reportedly also called for an immediate reduction in the speed of random number generated slots and online roulette games with no turbo spins, reel stop play or extra spins allowed as well as the imposition of a £2 ($2.52) maximum stake limit.
Regarding sportsbetting and the body reportedly advised the government to follow the lead of Australia and confine this lucrative activity to land-based venues and telephone channels. It furthermore purportedly suggested that the practice of reverse withdrawals should be permanently banned.
iGamingBusiness.com reported that the group proclaimed that a serious review into stakes and prize limits is also needed as the risks associated with remote gambling are ‘clearly’ not currently being managed effectively and comprehensively. The panel moreover purportedly stated that stake limits are needed so as to reduce harm and that these should be the subject of a government review every three years.
Harris reportedly described the gambling industry as a ‘multi-million-pound industry that has destroyed people’s lives’ and urged the government to implement regulatory parity across all channels so as to make iGaming subject to the same limits and controls as land-based operations.
Harris reportedly pronounced…
“They resist change at every turn and claim to be reforming themselves but put forward limited changes. Their primary motive is profit. During the coronavirus pandemic they said they would end television and radio advertising but just ended up replacing ads with ads that none of us want to see. They have shown time and again that they will not effectively self-regulate. We cannot ignore this any longer. Urgent change is needed to stop this industry riding roughshod over people’s lives.”
iGamingBusiness.com reported that other suggestions from the Gambling Related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group included compulsory affordability checks in addition to the creation of an industry ombudsman that would be tasked with assisting consumers in resolving disputes.
Finally, the domain reported that the body heaped further scorn upon the Gambling Commission in asserting the regulatory agency ‘is not for purpose’ before recommending that ‘its capacity to effectively regulate the burgeoning online gambling industry’ be reviewed.
The Gambling Related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group’s statement reportedly read…
“The government must commit further and more flexible funding for the Gambling Commission to enable it to cope with the growth in its responsibilities and there must be rigorous oversight as to how this money is spent. We also recommend the establishment of a substantial longitudinal study to allow us to understand the development and life-course of gambling disorders as well as the impact of awareness raising and treatment.”