New UK Gambling Regulations proposed by SMF

The UK Gambling industry and the gambling regulations has always been under fire and even more so now during the Covid Pandemic. New proposals and measures have been the subject in the past few months including a call for a ban on all gambling advertisements, something covered in one of our other articles. Due to the latest proposals the UK Gambling commission has opened a consultation process in an attempt to make online slots safer.

One of the suggestions that has taken a lot of notice is from the think-tank Social Market Foundation (SMF) who have published a report with a new framework for gambling regulations which includes and £100-a month spending cap. This framework has drawn in comments from the Betting and Gaming council.

 

Changes required in the UK Gambling regulations

The comprehensive new framework for gambling was included in a report from the Social Market Foundation that was published to call for changes in the current UK Gambling regulations. It has come at a good time as the Government are planning a full review of the regulations in the 2005 Gambling Act.

A change that really stands out in the proposed framework is a £100 a month spending cap for gamblers to help prevent problem gamblers. The change proposed by SMF is to limit how much people can gamble, those who want to spend more will be subject to a strict affordability check by an independent gambling ombudsman. This is a soft cap which equates to around £23 a week on gambling products.

Those who want to gamble more will be needed to prove that they not only can afford to gamble more but also that losing money wont potentially put them at harm. Their report states other regulations the SMF would like in place to prevent problem gambling, that includes adding limits to the stakes on online slots. A limit of £1-£5 is stated as the only way they believe it is possible to protect players from harmful spending.

SMF also took aim at offshore tax avoidance proposing gambling companies operating offshore should have the way they are taxed changed and increased operational costs. Companies operating in locations such as the Isle of Man, Gibraltar and Alderney could all face tax implication under the proposed changes in this report. The Proposal from SMF is said to set a low bar to be able to protect everyone in the UK gambling market including problem gamblers and the removal of tax avoidance.

 

The BGC are not fully on the SMF side

The Betting and Gambling Council (BGC) were quick to respond to the proposals made in the report. They highlighted that they are in support of a lot of the measures proposed by the SMF and find it freshening to have a new perspective on the way the gambling industry is viewed and monitored. However, they do not agree with the implementation of a deposit cap and or a cap on the stakes. They believe that this leads down a similar path that other European countries have gone down, which has only led to players turning to unregulated sites. A situation that the UK Gambling commission do not want to happen as control over the industry would soon spiral out of control and an increase in problem gamblers would be inescapable.

The council point out that the report states that there has been no rise in problem gambling over the last few months although the report is aimed at preventing a rise. They also point out that driving players away to unregulated sites will have an impact on the economy as UK brands bring in Circa £3bn in tax. The council have said that the affordability checks carried out at present are already robust and are often intervening on players who can’t afford to play.