Labour calls for online gambling limits in Britain

By Nathan Joyes

Labour’s shadow culture secretary, Tom Watson, has promised his party will limit online betting stakes if it gains power in Britain.

Watson argued that Labour’s proposed rules would help tackle "Britain’s hidden epidemic," saying current laws are outdated.

He also stated problem gambling should be treated as a “public health emergency”.

Britain has the largest regulated online gambling market in the world, which currently generates £4.7bn ($6.25bn) in revenue, according to the Gambling Commission.

The Gambling Commission has said there are currently no restrictions to online stakes or the speed of play.

Speed of play was a factor in the reduction of fixed-odds betting terminal (FOBT) maximum stakes from £100 to £2.

Watson said: “Online companies have a responsibility to protect their customers from placing bets they cannot afford. But, too often, these operators have either neglected the care of their customers or have been too slow in their due diligence."

A spokesperson for the Remote Gambling Association said: "We fully embrace the need to move faster to tackle problem gambling through effective regulation based on innovation, evidence and customer data and we are committed to working with the government and opposition to achieve that goal."

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