UK politicians are urging online gambling operators to impose a temporary limit on the maximum wager size permitted at sites. The idea behind the limit is to keep problem gamblers, and would-be problem gamblers, from overindulging while locked in the nation’s effort to battle the deadly corona virus. It’s an idea that’s being pitched as “voluntary” but, given current political attitudes in the UK regarding online gambling, it could easily be something that’s imposed by law at some point – especially if the corona virus crisis worsens.
The idea of a temporary wager limit was presented by a coalition of MP’s including Labour’s Carolyn Harris, the Conservatives’ Iain Duncan Smith and SNP MP Ronnie Cowan. The three pols issued a joint statement expressing their concern for the plight of UK residents who are currently living under government-imposed lockdowns and quarantines. In their statement they said bluntly, “We are deeply concerned that as we go deeper into this crisis, more and more people will turn to online gambling as a distraction.”
Limiting wagers is an idea that comes as virtually all worldwide sporting events have been cancelled and casinos across the planet have been forced to shutter their doors as social distancing becomes the new normal. This, of course, has left punters and gambling operators with relatively few options for sport and profit. Operators are working desperately to keep their players playing and that’s what’s really got the MP’s up in arms.
For now, the suggestion to limit wagers is being pitched as voluntary. “If the industry were to self-impose a daily limit of £50 … it would be a clear demonstration that the industry is willing to act responsibly and do what they can to protect society and peoples’ finances, at this dreadful time,” the MP’s said. But if they see a rise in problem gambling or a high profile account of problem gambling under lockdown, that “suggestion” could change into an “order” in a heartbeat.