UK: Gambling Commission issues warning before FOBT changes come into force

UK Gambling commission fines online operator £1.6m

THE United Kingdom Gambling Commission has issued a stern warning to bookmakers, ahead of the introduction of the £2 stake limit on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, due to come into force on April 1.

The Gambling Commission told its licensees the obligation was on them to protect consumers, with the new framework dropping the maximum stake on FOBT’s from £100 to £2 per spin.

This change is aimed at stopping players from losing large sums of money in a short space of time and is the latest move aimed at curbing problem gambling.

Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur said his team had been “closely monitoring operators’ plans” and was putting the onus on the gambling companies to make their changes with one eye on protecting consumers.

“Together with Government and the industry we must continue our ongoing work to make the whole industry safer – this includes continuing to make progress with making other products safer, as customers may move to gamble in other ways following the stake cut – including online, mobile and on the high street,” he said.

“It’s imperative that operators invest in and use data, technology and measures to identify harmful play and can step in to protect players when needed. They should be innovating to protect their customers, as much as they do to make a profit.” 

Attorney General for England and Wales and Secretary for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Jeremy Wright said the reduction in the max betting limit was a significant step in protecting vulnerable people, but warned there needed to be further changes including investigating credit gambling and further research into online problem gambling.

The Gambling Commission is also vowing to keep examining other forms of betting terminals available in the UK. This could include things such as introducing time and monetary limits and alerts and stronger messages about gambling safety.

The Gambling Commission is also considering banning the use of credit cards for online gambling, which would be a huge blow to the saturated industry in the UK.

This would follow on from the changes made to regulation surrounding age verification at gambling sites and forcing operators to put free games behind a wall, to stop underage visitors.

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