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MPs call for £2 limit on online slot machine games

Written by: Emma Lunn
The Gambling Related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has called for stake and deposits limits to be introduced on online gambling products.

The group’s interim report into the online gambling sector examined the harm caused by online gambling.

The inquiry was launched following growing disquiet among parliamentarians, charities, academics, families and individuals, at the high levels of harm caused by online gambling, in some cases leading to suicide.

The report raises concerns about the lack of action from the government and the Gambling Commission to effectively address the harm caused by online gambling. The group says this inaction has allowed the industry to prey on vulnerable gamblers.

The report also highlights the disparity in content controls and stake and deposit limits between online and offline games. It notes that the government has accepted the principle that harm can be reduced by reducing staking levels and it is clear that stake and deposit limits are needed in the online world to limit harm.

The cross-party group argued that there is no justification for having slot machine style games online with staking levels above £2, in line with land-based venues.

The report also notes that the Gambling Commission is looking at other aspects of regulation but has made no mention of what is clearly one of the key issues to address – stake and prizes online. This lead to the APPG describing the Gambling Commission as “not fit for purpose”.

The group is calling for online gambling operators to sign its “Charter for Regulatory Reform”, to signal their intention and support for the policy proposals and recommendations, outlined in its report.

Carolyn Harris MP, chair of the gambling related harm APPG, said: “This report highlights the urgent need for a root and branch review of the regulation of online gambling. Stakes and prize limits online would be a major step forward in reducing the harm caused by the sector. It is not at all clear why the Gambling Commission is not looking at this as a matter of urgency. It is an abdication of its responsibility as a regulator.

“There must be consistent and appropriate regulation of all forms of gambling. I also urge the government to urgently review the provision of research, education and treatment in the sector. Gamble Aware are not effectively carrying out this function and it should immediately be brought into a public health setting.”

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