UK government panel calls for major reforms to online gambling business
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Gambling Related Harm is threatening reforms that will drastically change life for UK online gambling operators. Some of the reforms recently suggested include a £2 stake limit on online slot machines; a reduction in VIP services for big spenders; and a restriction to the use of credit cards to fund gaming accounts. All told, the APPG could not only make life uncomfortable for operators, it has the potential to seriously undermine their bottom lines.
At the heart of APPG’s report is a sentiment that should send a chill through the heart of any online gambling operator; make online gambling laws line up with the laws that land-based operators live by.
Lawmakers on the AAPG are especially keen on treating online slots the same way that land-based slots are treated. That means limiting the maximum stake to £2 in all circumstances. In the report the AAPG refers to high stakes slots saying, “If they are not acceptable in land-based venues they should not be allowed online.”
Operators with a more international reach will likely be alarmed by the idea the AAPG floated about not allowing operators to work in the UK if they’re currently serving black or grey markets. That would be a major crimp in the plans of massive operators who don’t always have a handle on what their far-flung subsidiaries are up to.
All told, none of the AAPG’s recommendations are good news for gambling operators and investors agreed. UK operators like William Hill and GVC Holdings saw their stock prices drop by double digits after the report was released.