The Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group says more needs to be done to protect players during the Covid-19 lockdown.
UK.- A group of MPs have called for stricter online gambling measures to be enforced during the Coronavirus lockdown.
Last week, the Betting & Gaming Council (BGC) issued a 10-point pledge promising extra measures that will ensure firms do not exploit vulnerable people and problem players during the crisis.
But in an urgent letter to the government and the BGC, 22 MPs, two Lords and a UK gambling addiction expert said measures put forward by the 10-point pledge were ‘weak’.
“The Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) welcomed the announcement by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) this week that it is seeking to set the standards expected of members during the Covid-19 Pandemic,” the APPG said.
“It will not come as a surprise to you, however, that we do not think that the standards you have proposed go anything like far enough.
“Most measures are loosely worded, do not make firm commitments or merely restate existing obligations. Instead, we would expect you to adopt standards that respond appropriately to the context we are in and which will help to protect gamblers at this critical time.”
The APPG said that five urgent measures must be introduced if the BGC wants to seriously reduce harm to UK online gamblers.
They want a commitment to implement mandatory deposit limits for as long as the Covid-19 crisis lasts, a £2-per-spin stake limit and a ban on VIP schemes, an end to all gambling advertising and sign-up bonus offers.
Additionally, operators should “make their data available to ensure independent research can be undertaken to assess the scale of harm being caused by the industry at this time.”
They added: “At this time, it is incumbent on us all to do everything we can to support people’s safety and wellbeing, to support our society, protect the vulnerable and to put public interest ahead of gambling companies’ profit.”
Earlier this week, it was revealed that over half a million people in the UK had blocked themselves from using their online gambling accounts during lockdown measures.