U.K. Report Recommends Crackdown on iGaming Abuse

UK.’s All-Party Parliamentary Group has published a report on iGaming problems and solutions. It recommended controls including prohibiting advertising and barring some in-play bets. MP Carolyn Harris (l.) said the gaming industry’s “primary goal is profit.”

The Gambling Related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has published its final report on iGaming problems and recommended a range of strict new controls, among them prohibiting gambling advertisements and banning in-play betting.

The report’s release comes after a year-long investigation into Great Britain’s online gaming market, with evidence from operators, lawmakers, the Gambling Commission, as well as those that have suffered from gambling related issues, according to iGamingBusiness.com.

The report also suggests controls similar to those expected to be implemented in Spain, where gambling advertising is restricted but not banned outright.

The APPG welcomed industry efforts to better manage VIP schemes.

“The award of VIP status has been cited as a factor in seven out of ten regulatory penalties issued to companies by the Gambling Commission for failures to prevent problem gambling,” the report said.

The information tackled in-play betting, slots and online roulette. The APPG called for an independent review of how online products are regulated, tested and classified for addictiveness.

It recommended the speed of random number generated digital slots and roulette be reduced with no free spins, turbo spins or reel stop play, cash back on losing wagers, or gifts such as football tickets. Consumers should also be given more accurate information on their chances of winning, and the element of skill involved.

The group concluded that online gambling should be subject to the same controls and limits as land-based gambling.

“We recommend an urgent review of the Gambling Commission and its capacity to effectively regulate the burgeoning online gambling industry,” the APPG said.

The group’s chairwoman and MP for Swansea East Carolyn Harris had harsh words for the industry.

“They resist change at every turn and claim to be reforming themselves but put forward limited changes. Their primary motive is profit,” she said.

The proposals could result in a complete overhaul of the 2005 Gambling Act introduced under Tony Blair’s Labour government, according to the U.K. Guardian.

“They gambling firms have shown time and again that they will not effectively self-regulate. Urgent change is needed to stop this industry riding roughshod over people’s lives,” Harris said.

Betting advertising has boomed since it was permitted by the 2005 Gambling Act, although the industry signed up to a voluntary restriction during daytime sports broadcasts last year.

The MPs also called for affordability checks to ensure that people do not gamble more than they can afford.

“They have algorithms where if you are spending significant sums, so, there is no reason why this data cannot be used to prevent gambling harm,” the report said.

A spokesperson for the Betting and Gaming Council, the industry lobby group, said: “We are committed to making more changes and driving up safer gambling standards further and we look forward to working with the government on their forthcoming review.

The Advertising Association said no dice to the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Gambling Related Harm’s insistence on a blanket ban on gambling advertising, according to SBCNews.

“We believe a total ban is not necessary. Such action has wide implications, particularly for the support of sports across media channels, something enjoyed by millions of people right across the U.K.,” association Chief Executive Stephen Woodford said in a statement.