The Liberal Democrats are throwing their weight behind a proposed ban on gambling via credit cards. The party advocates a full-blown ban on credit card gambling and promises the same if their leader Jo Swinson is elected to power post-December 12th general elections.
The road to Liberal Democrat gambling utopia isn’t easy. The British Parliament, which was dismissed on November 6th, seats 650 candidates. The Lib Dems had just 20 Members of Parliament. If Swinson wins the election, she would need to find support from 306 other parliamentarians to create a suitable gambling legislation. They could also choose to form a minority government in coalition with another political party.
Tom Watson, the ex-deputy leader of Labour, had previously called for strong measures to be put in place for the online gambling sector. He supported the overhaul of the 2005 Gambling Act to make new provisions for the digital age of gambling.
The British legislature capped the maximum stakes on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to £2. FOBTs were known as the crack-cocaine of gambling. Critics of gambling reforms suggest that stringent measures for curbing the industry will lead to thousands of lost jobs. The British gambling industry currently employs over 100,000 people.
Despite the criticism, an all-party group recently published a report on online gambling, supporting the value of maximum stakes in online gambling to be reduced to £2. The Liberal Democrats want to go a step further and impose an outright ban. Meanwhile, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is holding a public consultation on the matter and is expected to incorporate it into rules next year. The Commission is mulling over the possibility of a complete ban but seeks advice from consumers and the industry first.
Liberal Democrats have taken several stands recently, including vocal support for FOBT stake reduction and their ‘stop Brexit’ campaign. They strongly favor the UK’s association with the EU. Culture spokesperson Layla Moran said that the party takes “bold and decisive action.” She also blamed Conservatives for neglecting the issue and credited the party for the FOBT stake reduction. The party seeks the appointment of an independent ombudsman in gambling, advertising curbs and compulsory levies on gambling operators.