As per reports from The Sun newspaper, it is expected that upcoming legislation will impose restrictions on young online gamblers, including limiting their betting amounts.
The proposed laws may include caps ranging from £2 to £15 for online slot machine wagers, with a specific £2 limit for individuals below the age of 25.
According to leaked information, gambling companies may face taxes to fund addiction treatment, as reported by The Sun. MPs who have been advocating for tighter gambling regulations have shared with the BBC that they anticipate the introduction of a new levy on businesses and limitations on stakes. The Department of Culture, responsible for gaming regulations, has declined to comment on the matter.
MPs have further indicated that they foresee more stringent affordability checks to prevent customers of gambling firms from betting beyond their financial capacities. However, a complete ban on casino advertising, which some protesters have called for, is not expected to be approved by ministers. The government is expected to unveil proposed new gaming laws in the coming weeks.
The highly anticipated white paper, which represents the most significant overhaul of the gambling industry in over 20 years, was initially announced in late 2020 but has faced multiple delays. Wales, Scotland, and England are expected to adopt new restrictions, while Northern Ireland will have its own separate gaming regulations. Additionally, there is a likelihood of an agreement being reached by the Premier League to ban sponsorship on the fronts of club shirts.
In 2018, there was a significant reduction in the maximum wager allowed on fixed-odds terminals at bookmakers’ shops, from £100 to £2. The Sun has reported that a new tax on betting companies, estimated at around 1% of their profits, may be introduced to finance addiction and support services. Currently, businesses typically make voluntary donations to projects that focus on studying the harmful effects of gambling and funding education, research, and treatment related to gambling addiction.
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), which represents gaming businesses, has reportedly contributed £100 million ($125 million) over a period of four years.
The BGC recently stated that it is open to the introduction of a mandatory charge and that member contributions are already being considered. However, the BGC expressed concerns about implementing a flat 1% tax on all gaming businesses, arguing that it would be unfair to businesses managing betting shops, which have higher operational costs and property taxes.
A representative from the BGC emphasized that they have been working closely with the government on the issue of online slot games and emphasized the need for any forthcoming restrictions to be proportionate and carefully targeted.
During the previous Labour government, gambling laws were liberalized. However, Sir Keir Starmer, the current leader of the Labour party, has indicated that he would support stricter regulation for the gambling sector, citing significant changes since then. He mentioned that he would need to thoroughly examine the new measures once they are announced.
It’s worth noting that, excluding the National Lottery, the gaming industry generated over £10 billion in pre-tax revenue during the period of 2021-2022.
Remote betting, bingo, and casino games accounted for £6.4 billion of the total revenue generated by the gaming industry in 2021-2022, with the majority of it being from online platforms. The non-remote betting market, which includes betting in arcades, bingo halls, casinos, and betting shops, generated £3.5 billion. According to the Office for Budget Responsibility, the gambling sector paid £3.2 billion in taxes in the fiscal year 2021-2022.
Estimates suggest that there are between 250,000 and 460,000 individuals in Great Britain who may be classified as problem gamblers.
The acceptance of gifts and hospitality by lawmakers on behalf of betting companies and industry organizations has sparked discussions, with some MPs raising concerns about the perceived cozy relationship between politicians and the gambling industry. In recent years, betting firms have reportedly spent significant amounts of money on bringing MPs from various political parties to events such as the Ascot races, Wimbledon, football games, music concerts, and award ceremonies.
The Department of Culture issued a statement mentioning that it is working on finalizing the details of the white paper in order to ensure that gambling regulations are relevant and effective in the digital age. This indicates that efforts are being made to ensure that the upcoming regulations are comprehensive and in line with the changing landscape of the gambling industry.