Combating and preventing gambling addiction is one of the key missions that the UK Gambling Commission undertakes. Now, the Commission is considering bringing in a monthly limit on the amount that gamblers can lose.
Back in 2019, the UKGC successfully implemented a cap on the amount that players could stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) that are found in most high street betting shops after the media started calling the machines the “crack cocaine” of the British gambling industry.
The decision to lower the maximum stake to just £2 caused concern for bookmakers who stood to see their profits plummet, but at the same time, industry bodies such as the UKGC and other gambling harm charities applauded the move. Over the eight months following the introduction of the new cap, there was a massive 40% reduction in police callouts to betting shops.
So, the chances of reducing gambling harm through a new monthly loss limit are likely to be similarly high.
The Gambling Commission has already found that gamblers have been spending more during the COVID-19 lockdown, although it managed to reduce the figure slightly by working alongside operators to reduce the number of gambling-related ads and increase the promotion responsible gaming.
The proposed threshold for monthly losses would be set at £100 based on over half of the population of the UK having a “discretionary income” of less than £250 per month after taxes and bills.
The data that the UKGC has been analysing shows that 21% of players say that they’ve gambled more than they could afford which, according to experts, is a key trait of problem gambling.
The Commission says that many of the current loss thresholds that are set by online gambling operators are “not appropriate”.
It also wants to introduce a 1-hour playing time limit, after which players will have bonus offers restricted and be challenged if they choose to continue betting.