A group of 50 prominent MPs is calling for a complete ban on gambling advertising to protect the vulnerable, following a year-long inquiry into the UK’s online betting industry.
In its report the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Gambling Related Harm made more than 30 recommendations, including a ban on all betting advertising, a £2 stake limit on online slot machines and an end to VIP schemes.
Carolyn Harris MP, Chair of the APPG, said: “Urgent change is needed to stop this industry riding roughshod over people’s lives.”
The APPG noted that the Gambling Commission has been unable to keep up with the fast-growing online betting industry. There are currently no restrictions on stakes or deposits, and only limited restrictions on advertising.
The MPs added that the COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the need for more restrictions, as people can currently “gamble with ease from home, at any time of day and at any level, via a mobile phone”.
Young men, women and families are being destroyed by online gambling
Ronnie Cowan MP, Vice Chair of the APPG, said: “This Government must not sit back and watch the unfettered growth of an industry that extracts money from people across the UK to line their own pockets.
“We are bombarded by gambling across all mediums and our sports are in hock to an industry which seeks to profit from them. Young men, women and families are being destroyed by online gambling.”
Last month, the gambling industry was told it must do more to protect gamblers, following a surge of online betting during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Gambling Commission instructed firms to contact gamblers who have played online continuously for an hour, to establish how at risk they are and determine whether further action needs to be taken.
In April, Britain’s largest betting firms promised to end all television and radio gambling advertising for six weeks, but this pledge did not include online promotions.