Online gambling crackdown set to tackle addictive features

Online betting firms will be banned from giving gamblers an “artificial illusion of control”, under a raft of measures designed to tackle addictive elements of gambling.

After considering responses to a recent consultation, the Gambling Commission has also decided to prohibit features that “deliberately speed up play” or allow multiple games to be played at once. In addition, sounds and visuals will no longer be able to celebrate returns less than or equal to a stake.

The restrictions will come into force on 17 January, while increased financial checks, and improved age-verification for physical premises, will come into effect at the end of August.

Financial checks

Initially, firms will identify if a gambler who has lost over £500 in a 30-day period has a history of bankruptcy or unpaid debts. From 28 February, the threshold will fall to £150.

A pilot scheme will also attempt to prevent cases where online gamblers “spend large amounts in short spaces of time without any checks”, by data sharing with credit reference agencies.

In order to prevent children from being drawn into gambling, the Commission will close a loophole allowing people to access certain premises without being age-checked. From the end of August, staff in gambling premises will be required to carry out a ‘Think 25’ approach.

Carolyn Harris MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Related Harm, welcomed the steps but called for stronger action on gambling sponsorship and marketing.


Last month, GambleAware said that betting adverts should carry warnings emphasising gambling’s addictive nature.

The charity called for the current industry-led slogan ‘Take Time To Think’ to be replaced with a “more compelling” message on gambling harms.

According to the National Gambling Helpline, the number of people seeking help for addiction rose by over 10,000 last year.

Also see:

Gambling apps

Ex-Scotland manager: ‘The shame and lies of gambling convinced me to finally stop’

Report: ‘Govt must act to stop children being lured into gambling’

Man who started betting at 8 years old gambled away over £100k

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