UK betting firms pressed to impose £50 limits


MPs in the United Kingdom are urging online gambling firms to set a temporary cap on all bets to £50 per day. They hope this measure would limit the risk of bettors who have little else to do.

uk-betting-firms-pressed-to-impose-50-limitsWith major sports and racing events, such as the Premier League and Grand National, suspended at the moment due to the coronavirus, many gambling companies are promoting international and obscure sporting events, computer-generated “virtual” sports, and online casino games. A senior manager at William Hill sent an internal email advising staff to “talk to your customers about what other things they can bet on – table tennis and Japanese baseball are proving very popular.”

32Red has been encouraging customers to participate more in their online casino games. Betway and MansionBet have been promoting “virtual” events, where customers can place wagers on computer-generated football matches.

This is causing concern among lawmakers. MPs of a cross-party group have expressed their concern to the Betting & Gaming Council (BGC) about the impact that these kinds of gambling offers may have. Labour’s Carolyn Harris, the Conservatives’ Iain Duncan Smith and SNP MP Ronnie Cowan explained in the statement, “We are deeply concerned that as we go deeper into this crisis, more and more people will turn to online gambling as a distraction.”

To try to reduce the risk, they made a proposal to the trade body. “If the industry were to self-impose a daily limit of £50 … it would be a clear demonstration that the industry is willing to act responsibly and do what they can to protect society and peoples’ finances, at this dreadful time.”

Matt Gaskell, clinical lead for the NHS northern gambling clinics, spoke of these concerns, pointing out that “The industry continues to do all it can to increase profits, keep gamblers immersed and in continual play, at the expense of people’s lives.”

However, it may be difficult to stop these businesses from using these enticements, apart from creating a new set of laws. With the United Kingdom ordering the closure of all betting shops and casinos to try to deter the spread of the COVID-19 virus, these businesses must promote other parts of their business if they are to keep revenue coming in. If they don’t, international operators will.