Government to unveil new gambling laws to help prevent suicides and harm

The industry and the profile of a problem gambler have changed dramatically over the past decade, according to the government, necessitating a new law with stricter wagering regulations.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer, who will outline the plans to Parliament later, asserts that the proliferation of smartphones means every phone now has a Las Vegas app. It is anticipated that the programme will include inspections on gamblers who lose more than £1,000 per day.

Ms. Frazer stated that her "balanced" proposal would still allow individuals to gamble. Since the review of wagering laws was first announced by Oliver Dowden, then culture secretary, in 2020, the announcement of what the government's white paper actually contains has been delayed at least four times.

Since then, there have been regular reports of individual cases of problem gamblers, but the government's solution has not been implemented despite the efforts of three culture secretaries and three prime ministers. Now, Ms. Frazer believes she has a digital age-appropriate proposal.

She mentioned that the internet and the rise of the smartphone have made gambling widespread, not just on the high street but also anytime and anywhere, providing access to wagering at all hours.

She observed that for those who become addicted, their smartphone becomes a trapdoor for hopelessness and stated that the government's new approach would safeguard the most vulnerable while not impeding the majority of those who desire a wager. One of the known proposals is the imposition of a mandatory tax on gambling companies to fund addiction treatment and research. However, it remains unclear how this funding will be managed.

Parliamentarians who advocated for reform have enthusiastically endorsed additional alterations. To protect problem gamblers, the white paper is anticipated to include the introduction of affordability checks.

According to sources, these will activate when a speculator loses £1,000 in 24 hours or £2,000 in 90 days. It is currently unknown how these will be executed. In addition, the government is anticipated to consult on instituting stake limits for online slot bets - the digital equivalent of traditional slot machines.

It is anticipated that the range will be between £2 and £15, with a reduced level for those under 25. As of September 2021, certain gambling companies, including Flutter, which owns Paddy Power, Sky Bet, and Betfair, imposed £10 slot limits. The obligatory tax on wagering companies is anticipated to be 1% of net revenue and could generate £140 million annually for education, treatment, and research.

Currently, the levy is voluntary, and the funds are not allocated to the NHS, which has refused to receive them for ethical reasons. Currently, lesser casinos are restricted in the number of machines they can house. It is anticipated that the number will rise from 20 to 80.

Luke Ashton, the spouse of Annie Ashton, committed suicide in 2021 after battling a gambling addiction and losing money online. Michael Dugher, chief executive officer of the Betting and Gaming Council, told sources that the organization has collaborated closely with the government.