SMF calls for further player protection in the UK

The Social Market Foundation (SMF), which is a cross-party think tank in the UK, has called for the introduction of more player protection measures. 

Included in this is a monthly deposit limit, in addition to the creation of new regulatory bodies for gambling. 

The document is the latest in a string of suggestions from various groups ahead of the government’s review of the 2005 Gambling Act

Suggestions related to monthly deposit limits have been met with criticism by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC)

Monthly deposits, unless checks are passed

The SMF’s report calls for gamblers to have their deposits limited at £100 per month, “until they pass more stringent checks”. It’s intended that this will be used to stop families from lower socio-economic backgrounds from succumbing to debt because of gambling. 

In addition to the above, the SMF also suggests that online gambling operators should need to ask for proof of a consumer’s financial situation. This could be through tax returns, wage slips and credit checks. Should they pass these, they will be able to wager above the monthly deposit limit. 

Players’ financial documents would also be passed on to the ‘gambling ombudsman’. This would be to ensure that possible problem gamblers are not able to spend money with different companies. 

Time for a regulatory shake-up, according to the SMF

Another suggestion of the report is that the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), which currently overlooks gambling regulation in the country, is split into two different sections. One division would handle licensing and compliance-related matters, with the other focusing on consumer protection. 

The report also believes that operators should have a proper base in the UK

Another aspect of the report also looked at how many gambling operators who sponsor football clubs in the Premier League do not have a base in the UK. Instead, they have offices in other countries. 

The House of Lords has recently called for a ban on football shirt sponsorships for gambling operators, as has a report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG).

The study was headed by the group ‘Clean up Gambling’. As was reported by the Daily Mail, Director Matt Zarb-Cousin spoke about the problems that offshore operators can cause. He said the following. 

“We believe gambling firms relocating offshore has resulted in hundreds of millions in tax being avoided, while the country is left to pick up the tab for all the harm online gambling is causing to society.” 

BGC critical of deposit limit suggestion

The BGC has responded to the idea of limiting deposits, arguing that there are already measures in place to protect players. 

They said the below. 

“We already carry out robust and improved affordability checks … We disagree with the suggestion of an arbitrary and random low cap on spending and can think of no other area of the economy where the government determines how much an individual can spend.”