Labour Plans to Target Online Gambling

Labour Party in the UK

The Labour Party is planning a series of major restrictions on the online gambling industry to bring it in line with land-based betting operations if they come to power.

The announcement was made by the party’s deputy leader Tom Watson on Thursday, who was speaking at an Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) seminar on internet gambling.

Among the changes called for by Watson were limits to spending and staking and the creation of a new ‘E Category’ section of gambling legislation to specifically address gambling. In response to Watson’s comments, the Remote Gambling Association warned that the introduction of more restrictions to the online gambling industry could encourage players to switch to illegal sites.

Speaking about the current state of the UK’s gambling legislation, Watson said that the existing gambling laws were not fit for purpose in the digital age. He said that even though the latest Gambling Act was passed in 2005, that bill itself was out of date, containing more references to the postal service than to the online world. He also commented on the disparity between the heavily-regulated land-based gambling industry and the online sector, and criticised many online operators:

Online gambling companies have a responsibility to protect their customers from placing bets that they cannot afford. But too often, these operators have either neglected the care of their customers or have been too slow in their due diligence.”

He went on to support a new system of limits placed on internet gambling, to protect customers, in addition to proposals that the Labour Party have already made, including a ban on gambling sports sponsorship and the outlawing of credit card betting. Watson’s call for increased regulation of the online industry was supported by the Conservative Lord Chadlington, the former Chair of action on Addiction, who has also said that the 2005 Act is in need of reform.

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