UK lawmakers are worried that the citizens of their locked down nation are at risk of becoming problems gamblers and they don’t think that UK-facing operators are doing enough to halt the budding problem. This comes despite recent, and voluntary, efforts by gambling operators to reduce the speed of slot play; limit advertising exposure by young people; major changes to VIP programs via the trade group, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC).

In a letter reported on by the UK Guardian, Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones, director of the National Problem Gambling Clinic and 22 MPs issued a stern call for the gambling industry to see new, heavy regulations during the national lockdown. “People are at home and are severely restricted, with access to mini-casinos on their laptops or mobile phones, We therefore have deep concerns about the ‘pledges’ which have been proposed this week by the BGC.”

The letter writers go on to ask the UK government to immediately halt VIP and bonus offers and to severely limit slot machine stakes and account deposits. They’re also calling on operators to submit their internal data to researchers so that lawmakers have a better idea of exactly how bad problem gambling is in the UK.

“The UK does not shield its young and vulnerable from gambling advertising despite research showing that exposure to gambling will act as a trigger to gamble even in young people. This is not in keeping with a public health approach. Our country has at least 50,000 children who are problem gamblers. With the current lockdown, many more will be tempted by boredom and financial concerns to try gambling as a way out. Now, more than ever, at this time of uncertainty, a moral code is required from the gambling industry,” they went on to say.

UK gambling operators can clearly expect some sort of legal crackdown as the corona virus lockdown drags on. It will be interesting to see how many of those reforms become a permanent part of the gaming landscape once the worldwide corona virus nightmare settles down.


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