As part of the gambling legislation review launched in December 2020, the government will recommend a statutory levy on gambling operators, forcing larger companies to share 1% of profits to fund public health initiatives. This move, however, will require further consultation before implementation.
Online gamblers could also face tighter financial affordability checks following another round of consultation. Those losing more than £125 a day will face checks on bankruptcy declarations or county court judgments against them. Gamblers with daily losses of £1,000 or more will be subject to open banking checks that assess their income.
Additionally, the government plans to introduce stake limits on online casino games. Gamblers under the age of 25 will be limited to £2 bets, while a £15 cap will be placed on older gamblers.
Balancing Power Between Punters and Operators
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer, who will announce the reforms in Parliament, said the white paper aims to “redress the power imbalance between punters and operators.”
She acknowledged that for some addicts, gambling apps have become “a trapdoor to despair and isolation.”
The gambling industry has grown rapidly in recent years, leading to increased lobbying efforts targeting British parliamentarians, primarily through the Betting and Gaming Council, an industry body.
According to the Gambling Commission, about 0.3% of British adults were problem gamblers at the end of 2021. However, a YouGov survey estimated the figure at 2.8%, or nearly 1.4 million people.
A Call for Prompt Implementation
Lord Foster of Bath, chair of peers for gambling reform, urged the government to “stop dithering and implement” instead of launching another round of consultations.
Matt Zarb-Cousin, director of Clean Up Gambling, expressed optimism, saying, “Once the ball is rolling on things like stake limits and affordability, it’s only going one way on the basis of the evidence.“
Key Takeaways: What to Expect from the White Paper Today
- Statutory levy on gambling operators: The government will recommend imposing a statutory levy on larger gambling operators within the British iGaming industry, requiring them to share 1% of profits to fund public health initiatives.
- Stake limits on online casino games: Gamblers under the age of 25 will face a £2 stake limit, while a £15 cap will be placed on older gamblers.
- Tighter financial affordability checks: Gamblers losing more than £125 a day will undergo checks on bankruptcy declarations or county court judgments. Those with daily losses of £1,000 or more will face open banking checks to assess their income.
- Redressing the power imbalance: The white paper aims to create a more balanced relationship between punters and operators, addressing the issue of problem gambling.
- Further consultations: Some measures will require additional consultation before implementation, which may lead to delays in enforcing new regulations.
- No changes to advertising rules: The white paper is not expected to feature changes to gambling advertising rules.
- Crypto and Web3 operators: it is unclear weather the new laws will touch upon crypto lotteries, and other outlets working on Web3 or metaverse implementations.