Huge support for online gambling reforms announced by MPs

The All Party Parliamentarty Group (APPG) on Gambling Related Harm, an influential collective of MPs and Peers who were instrumental in the successful campaign to restrict FOBTs, yesterday published recommendations for reforms to online gambling.

Reported in the Financial Times, the Guardian, the Daily Mail, City AM and on the Today Programme, the APPG called for:

  • An urgent review of stakes, deposit and prize limits online as well as a complete review and classification of online products.
  • The stake for online slots content should be no higher than £2 given the potential to cause harm.
  • VIP schemes and inducements should be banned. They offer very high stakes gambling and have led to significant harm.
  • A ban on all gambling advertising.
  • A complete overhaul of gambling regulation in the UK. The Gambling Commission is not fit for purpose
  • A Gambling Ombudsman for consumer redress must be set up.
  • A ‘smart’ levy should be paid by gambling operators to fund independent research, education, prevention and treatment.
  • A new Gambling Act is urgently required. While some immediate changes can be made through secondary legislation and the Government should consider what changes can be made in the short-term, an overhaul of the 2005 Gambling Act is required - fit for our digital age.

Polling by Survation on behalf of Clean Up Gambling, reported in City AM and The Sunday People, shows the public is onside.

As I argued on BBC News, any government review that seeks to bring our gambling laws into the digital age should take into account:

  • 82% to 7% support limits on the amount that can be deposited into an online gambling account. These figures are almost identical levels of support for whether stakes should also be limited.
  • 68% backed a limit to the stake of less than £5 a spin, while 65% think a weekly deposit limit should be set at under £50.
  • 82% to 5% believe people under 18 shouldn’t be exposed to gambling advertising at all.

Carl Shoben from Survation said: “It is clear from Survation’s research that both people who gamble regularly and the wider public strongly believe there needs to be significant changes to how online gambling is regulated, including greater protections in the amounts people can bet online and how gambing is promoted to young people.

“Research we also carried out towards the start of the lockdown showed that regular gamblers were gambling more, and that a significant number felt they were developing an addiction.

“A message for the government is that the support for change cuts across political lines, and our research shows that if anything more Tory voters than Labour support tighter regulation of the industry. “