Online casino games with no maximum bets provide a dangerous alternative to fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) for gambling addicts, a charity has said.
Gambling with Lives, which was set up last week by the families of gambling addicts who have taken their own lives, say the Government needs to act to prevent betting companies from luring addicts into using unrestricted online casinos.
Last week the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced the maximum stake on FOBTs would be cut from £100 to £2 by April, and campaigners want similar cuts online.
Josephine Holloway, whose son Daniel killed himself last October said the maximum stakes available online were “ridiculous”.
Online, stakes on casino games like blackjack and roulette have been known to be as high as £10,000.
Holloway called online gambling products “toxic”, and said the industry “needs to take more responsibility”.
“There are people who are addicted to fixed-odds betting terminals and the same games are available online. We need to protect them.”
‘Thousands and thousands’
Industry regulator, the Gambling Commission, claims operators are able to detect signs of problem gambling, and are required to use that data to protect problem gamblers.
But Josephine explained how in the last 14 months of her son’s life, he spent “thousands and thousands” on online betting operators.
“It completely messed with his mind. It made him crazy. It was an overwhelming issue that he could never get to grips with.”
The Christian Institute’s Deputy Director Simon Calvert encouraged the Government to follow up its recent cuts to FOBTs by examining other ways to curb the harmful influences of gambling.
He said: “I think the issue now is that we have to encourage our politicians to look at what else they can do to deal with problem gambling, and especially to deal with the issue of children and young people being drawn into gambling.
“You watch football on television or you go to a match these days and you’re surrounded by adverts for gambling.
“I really do think that the politicians need to be looking into that, into mobile gambling, and into other areas where we must try to rein back this gambling culture which is taking hold.”