Online casinos and slots are likely to be the focus of the forthcoming gambling White Paper, part of an UK Government review of the 2005 Gambling Act.
Speaking to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee, Gambling Minister Chris Philp highlighted the two sectors as those that caused him the most concern, giving a strong indication that these will be targeted in the imminent regulatory review.
Philp said: “The things that worry me the most as we think about the gambling White Paper are things like online slots and online casinos – the areas where people can get really heavily addicted to gambling.”
Citing the 2018 England health survey, Philp highlighted the disparity in problem gambling rates for different types of gambling. The survey suggested that 0.9% of problem gambling rates could be attributed to draw-based games, significantly lower than other activities, “where the range went from 2.7% to 12.7%.”
MPs were told that approximately 40%-45% of the British public took part in some form of gambling every month.
The White Paper will be published in the near future, with a wide-ranging swathe of regulatory changes expected as a result. UK media sources have reported that the paper will contain a cap on stakes between £2 ($2.38) and £5 for online casinos, bans on free bets and bonuses for problem players and affordability checks.
Rumours have suggested that the paper would also order Premier League clubs to forgo the use of betting companies as their primary sponsors. However, recent developments have indicated that they will now be offered to do so voluntarily.