Regulation

UK: Calls For Lower Maximum Stakes On Online Slots

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The UK continues to have a relatively relaxed attitude towards gambling. This is despite people continuing to suffer from addiction and other gambling-related problems.

So long as there are problems, there will always be organisations calling for more to be done to help vulnerable people negatively affected by gambling.

One such organization is GRH APPG, or the Gambling Related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group. This is a collective of people from across Parliament who have a common goal to reduce the number of people who suffer as a result of gambling.

Parity Between Offline & Online Limits Called for

Early in 2018, the UK government announced it would be capping the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals at £2. This includes physical slot machines. What the GRH APPG wants is for online slots to have the same maximum betting limits as their physical counterparts; in other words, players would be able to bet no more than £2 when playing online slots.

The GRH APPG carried out an inquiry lasting six months. It concluded that there was no real reason for online slots to have much higher betting limits than physical slots. If there are limits for physical slots, the same limits should be in place for online ones.

Along with calling for lower maximum stakes for online slots, the group wants VIP accounts restricted and credit card use banned. VIP accounts for high rollers tend to offer perks such as much higher maximum stakes for all types of casino game, as well as enhanced promotions and bonuses.

The reason the group wants credit cards banned is that these cards let people use money they don’t have to gamble with. You can do this with debit cards by using an overdraft, but this is subject to approval from the bank. Debit cards do have more restrictions and limitations than credit cards, which makes them a more sensible payment method for online gamblers to use.

Checks for Underage Gamblers

Other things highlighted in the inquiry include the need for underage gamblers to be protected more, for operators to care for players more and for there to be more checks to ensure players can afford to gamble.

The GRH APPG wants a number of online casino operators to announce their support for the group’s goals. It also wants these operators to sign its Charter for Regulatory Reform. It’s openly criticised the UK Gambling Commission, even going so far as to describe it as ‘not fit for purpose’.

This is because it feels the commission hasn’t done enough to address important issues to do with betting values and prizes. The GRH APPG’s chair, the MP Carolyn Harris, has said this about the group’s opinion on the UK Gambling Commission:

‘It is not at all clear why the Gambling Commission is not looking at this as a matter of urgency. It is an abdication of its responsibility as a regulator. There must be consistent and appropriate regulation of all forms of gambling.’

‘I also urge the government to urgently review the provision of research, education and treatment in the sector. Gamble Aware are not effectively carrying out this function and it should immediately be brought into a public health setting’.

It’s uncertain whether the suggestions put forward by the GRH APPG will be taken seriously and acted on.

What’s clear is that there’s clearly more to be done to keep on reducing the number of people negatively affected by gambling. If online slot betting limits are capped at £2, it could have a huge effect on the revenue generated by online casinos.

James is an experienced journalist who specializes in covering online casinos and iGaming. Enjoys traveling and seeing new places. Keen theme park and roller coaster enthusiast. Contact him at James@beanstalk.io

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