The Gambling White paper continued: biggest shakeup of gambling rules in two decades

Britain's gambling laws need an update so they will be relevant and effective in the digital age. So here is some more detail of the proposals put forward in the Gambling White paper. 

This will be the biggest shakeup in Britain's gambling laws for two decades.

For centuries, millions of people have been able to enjoy sensible gambling within the limits of what they can afford without harming themselves or their families. But it has also been a problem for centuries that some people who gamble money which they can't afford to lose have inflicted devastating harm on themselves and their families. 

  • It is right and proper that those who work in the gambling industry, and their customers, should have the confidence of knowing that all bets and all games will be run fairly, with a level playing field, in an open and transparent way, and the customers protected from gambling harms.
  • So the government is introducing landmark changes to gambling laws as set out in the Gambling White Paper, including a new levy on betting firms to pay for treatment for gambling addiction, player protection checks and new stake limits for online slots just as we have in bricks and mortar establishments.
  • These proposals will ensure the industry, which employs 100,000 people, continues to flourish sustainably but players are protected from gambling related harm.

The proposals in the Gambling White Paper will do this by:

  • Introducing a new levy to pay for projects and services to tackle gambling addiction and fund effective treatment, giving anyone negatively impacted the support they need. The current voluntary levy is not fit for purpose. A new statutory gambling operator levy will be paid by gambling companies and will not be a tax on players. The proceeds will be ring-fenced for funding for research, education, and treatment, including through the NHS.
  • Introducing new stake limits for online slots games which are associated with large losses and long sessions. A new stake limit for online slots will be introduced with the default maximum stake of between £2 and £15 per spin, subject to consultation. Public Health England research has shown younger adults can be particularly vulnerable to gambling harms.
  • Giving new powers to the Gambling Commission to tackle and block unlicensed black market gambling firms from operating in the UK, further strengthening protections for those most at risk. The Gambling Commission will do this through court orders and working with internet service providers. Illegal operators often try to subvert the system, including on player protection requirements, and this move will further strengthen the regulatory environment protecting those most at risk of harm.  
  • Requiring betting companies to conduct frictionless player protection checks on the highest spending gamblers, checking they are not incurring harmful losses. These checks will happen instantaneously, and will not impact gameplay, unless there are signs of financial harm where people may have declared bankruptcy or are racking up debts to fund their gambling. 
  • Closing loopholes to make sure under-18s do not gamble either online, or via fruit machines which pay out in cash, ensuring young people are protected against gambling harms. This includes, for example, bringing football pools betting in line with National Lottery play for over-18s only.
  • Restricting bonus offers to ensure people are not encouraged to spend more than they intended, adding another level of protection for those at risk of gambling harm. The Gambling Commission will take a closer look at how bonuses are constructed and targeted to prevent them being used in harmful ways and its work will inform new rules to stop dangerous practices. 
  • Introducing a new industry ombudsman to deal with disputes and rule on redress where a customer suffers losses due to an operator failing in their player protection duties. The new ombudsman will deal with customers who have complaints and ensure customers who suffer losses due to a failing in play protection are offered redress. 


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