Not long after the UK Gambling Commission called for people to share their opinions on improving control measures over Category B games and the use of credit cards for online gambling, the Labour’s leader Tom Watson called for a new Category E introduction into the Gambling Act.
At the IPPR policy seminar a few days ago, Watson said that the party will call for the introduction of a new Category E with the aim to introduce limits to how much a player can spend and what the stakes limit should be for online games.
Watson said that the 2005 Gambling Act as it is completely unfitting to the digital age and online gambling. It was written so long ago and it focuses almost entirely on land-based gambling, which is highly regulated in the UK. However, he added, the lack of control on online gambling is making vulnerable players suffer huge losses. This is because online gambling operators have a responsibility to protect these players from bets they can’t afford and they sometimes fail to do so. They often neglect the care of their players or have been too slow in their reactions.
Therefore, Watson said that a system of thresholds and limits needs to be placed on the stake, spend and speed of online gambling that will protect players better. So, Labour’s new policies will serve to provide a framework to make it easier for both the UKGC and the industry to achieve that goal.
The Category E games will include online games and the new Gambling Act will state all the limitations in relation to the speed, stakes and spend for online gambling.
On the other hand, the Remote Gambling Association thinks that if the government introduces this Category E, players will reach out to illegal offshore sites where no limitations exist. Basically, the RGA says that over-limiting players would have counter-effects.
RGA said that the industry fully embraces all the moves to prevent problem gambling and promote responsible gambling, but online gambling can be monitored and tracked through players’ online accounts, and can actually provide the government with insight on how to improve the measures against addictive gambling. Through evidence, customer data and innovation, together with the UK Gambling Commission, the RGA believes that they will achieve that goal. The online environment is, the RGA said, actually a huge advantage for providing players’ spending behaviours and patterns review and is a very useful and more sophisticated way to tackle the issue of problem gambling.