Online Bets in UK Could be Capped by Gambling Commission at £2
The UK Gambling Commission (GC) is reportedly considering lowering of maximum bet amount in online slots and setting it at £2. This announcement has led to the fall in value of gambling firms’ stocks, especially those with considerable online holdings. Notable affected firms include 888, Playtech, Ladbrokes Coral, William Hill, and Flutter Entertainment.
Gambling firms’ stocks were last hit during the last overhaul of gambling regulations by the GC, in which fixed odds betting terminals (FOBT) maximum bets were lowered at £2. The initiative to set the maximum bets of online slots to £2 was initiated by an all-parliamentary group on gambling harms.
The group has long advocated for the GC to undertake harsher measures against the social ills associated with problem gambling. According to the MPs who are part of the group, the GC has failed to take gambling firms to task for their actions—they contend that stricter regulation is needed to keep gambling firms in line.
The news marks the second time that the lowering of maximum online bets has been considered by the GC. Gambling in general has faced a slew of regulatory measures in recent years in the UK. The GC has set in place a ban on credit card gambling, more stringent identity verification measures, and the aforementioned lowering of FOBT maximum bets.
The proposal of £2 maximum bets in online slots has so far failed to receive the same level of support as previous rules. In 2018, when the GC first announced that they would be considering regulating the maximum bets in online slots, executives from gambling firms warned that such a broad, sweeping directive could bankrupt them, leading to the loss of thousands of jobs.
This year, the proposal has again gained steam in the GC, with its Chief Executive Neil McArthur stating his full intent to follow through on his promise to consider regulating online slots.
UK Gambling Has Survived Previous Regulations
While stricter regulation may affect the stocks of gambling firms in the short-term, some in the industry believe that it can help UK gambling thrive in the long-term. By protecting gamblers more actively, some believe, gambling firms can avoid penalties and gain the public’s trust—rehabilitating the currently sordid image of gambling.
None of the previous regulations on gambling has made a lasting negative impact on the UK’s gambling industry. However, some observers state that maximum bets in online slots may have that effect, due to the reliance of many operators on these slots to bring in the majority of their profits.
Carolyn is our legislation expert, with a background in law she is able to cover the current state of gambling around the world