Senior MPs are calling for a “complete overhaul of regulation” on online betting firms to protect the vulnerable.
Carolyn Harris MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Gambling Related Harm, and Vice Chairman Iain Duncan Smith MP, said: “We must not stand by and continue to watch an industry with very few limits profiteering from vulnerable people”.
Last week, the APPG published a report with over 30 recommendations, following a year-long inquiry into the UK’s online betting industry.
Writing in The Times, the MPs said that the Government “must set out plans to ban gambling advertising across all forms” and “ban cynical VIP inducements which are designed to drive people into deeper debt and despair”.
They call for stake limits on online games, as there are in arcades and casinos, and highlighted the suicide of Chris Bruney who lost £119,000 in the five days prior to his death.
The MPs also criticise betting firms which paused TV advertising during the lockdown but “replaced them with ‘social responsibility messages’ which were effectively adverts and ramped up advertising on social media”.
They added: “What incentive is there for them to take steps which will cut the profits of their multi-billion pound industry?”
Last week, the APPG noted that the COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated the need for more restrictions.
Ronnie Cowan MP, Vice Chairman 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.”