Steven Swinford; Political Editor of the Times reported that amidst concerns of people becoming addicted to gambling, the UK Prime Minister; Rishi Sunak plans to resurrect policies to curb online gambling.
The Conservative pledge of the 2019 manifesto in regard to the Gambling Review has been on hold since the resignation previous PM Boris Johnson, and in choosing to not delay it further, PM Sunak intends to forge ahead and deliver on it.
According to the report, the Gambling Review with the backing of the PM, will impose the toughest measures on online gambling operators, including on customer affordability checks and stake limits.
As part of the reforms, there will be introduction of stake limits of £2-and-£5 on online casino slots, with customers able to bet higher amounts if they can afford to.
The Customer Affordability checks will require operators to undertake non-intrusive checks on individuals’ finances in order to protect against losses that cannot be sustained.
In a previous assessment of affordability checks and stake limits, the government outlined that putting measures in place, could see online gambling revenues fall by as much as £700m.
It was also reported that there will be secondary measures that will see the government impose tougher age verification methods, to ensure that under-18s cannot do any form of gambling.
It is said that the government will institute a Gambling Ombudsman that will deal with consumer rights and disputes.
Cross-Party leaders of the Gambling Related Harm APPG, however, has criticized the government’s decision to allow Premier League clubs to decide on a voluntary approach to gambling/betting sponsorships.
According to the Times, the PM had chosen to listen to the warnings of senior NHS clinicians on gambling harms and suicide.
Last week, NHS doctors called for the government to place suicide prevention at the front of the gambling reform’s agenda, stating that addiction clinics were witnessing a surge in demand for treatment and support for gambling addiction.
According to the Gambling addiction clinic figures disclosed to The Times; 599 patients have been referred to the service in the past six months, a 42% increase on the same period last year and up 65% from 2020-21.
The increase reflects concerns about gambling-related suicides, which are currently recorded at more than 400 each year in England, as clinics report that one in three patients had attempted suicide, while 57% of the patients are reported to be thinking they would be better off dead.
Source: SBC News