Labour want overhaul of UK gaming legislation

The UK’s opposition party is set to call for set limits on player spending, speed of play and staking as part of new legislation for the gambling industry in the UK.

The Labour party deputy leader Tom Watson is expected to lay out details of their plans to address the problem of gambling should the party come to power in a speech to the Institute of Public Policy Research later.

If enforced, it would be the first time these type of controls were legalised in the UK.

“We need to see a culture of limits introduced to internet gambling: a system of thresholds placed on the spend, stake and speed of online gambling that will give safeguards to consumers,” he told us. “Labour’s new policies announced today will provide a framework for both industry and the regulator to achieve that.”

The speech will include details of what he and the party see as a regulatory imbalance between land-based and online gaming and will call attention to set limits in place for offline gaming in areas such as stakes, prizes and speed of gameplay on top of the extra checks for large deposits with regards to fraud and money laundering.

Watson says as these controls do not exist online this has helped increase problem gambling and that some operators are abusing the situation which is detrimental to UK players. He will also call for the introduction of online affordability checks as part of new due diligence checks he wishes to see before a player makes their first bet.

A future Labour government will look to introduce a new E category regarding the regulation of eGaming making it more in line with offline gambling which is covered by the 2005 Gambling Act, and will announce a gamer’s consultation with will look to gather information and evidence comparing the relationship between gaming and gambling including areas such as skins and loot boxes that are becoming more popular in games such as Fortnite.

Labour has previously vowed to abolish the use of credit cards for gambling.

“Problem gambling is Britain’s hidden epidemic, we should treat it as a public health emergency. Online gambling companies have a responsibility to protect their customers from placing bets that they cannot afford,” he continued. “But too often, these operators have either neglected the care of their customers or have been too slow in their due diligence.”

LateReg will bring you responses to his speech over the coming days.