UK Gambling Firms Urged to Impose £50 Betting Cap Amid COVID-19 Crisis

  • UK MPs have asked operators to prioritize well-being of customers over business interests
  • Letter sent to Betting and Gaming Council encourages responsible gambling practices
  • Calls to stop customers having multiple accounts, faster intervention for problem gamblers
  • Firms increasing promotion of virtual options as sporting events get canceled due to COVID-19
man celebrates as his mobile sports bet wins
UK politicians have called on online operators to limit daily bets to £50 in an effort to protect consumers from gambling harm during the COVID-10 pandemic. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

MPs call for £50 daily limit

Members of Parliament in the United Kingdom have asked online gambling firms to impose a £50 ($58.1835) betting cap per day on customers during the COVID-19 crisis.

Officials in a cross-party group reviewing gambling-related harm addressed a letter to the UK’s Betting and Gaming Council, urging operators to avoid holding the protection of their finances above the well-being of their customers.

In the absence of mainstream sports, online betting businesses are pushing players towards riskier wagers. MPs worry this will lead to an increase in gambling-related harm.

Protecting players’ well-being

In the letter, The Labour Party’s Carolyn Harris, Scottish National Party MP Ronnie Cowan, and British Conservative Party politician Iain Duncan Smith said they are concerned that more people will look to online gambling as a form of distraction during the current coronavirus crisis.

more people will look to online gambling as a form of distraction

They stated: “If the industry were to self-impose a daily limit of £50 ($58.1835) … 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.”

a clear demonstration that the industry is willing to act responsibly”

The MPs called for a block on how many accounts an individual customer can create to stop them from holding multiple accounts. They also want to see faster intervention when it comes to players who are displaying gambling problems.

Experts have warned that those who have a gambling disorder will be stuck at home during the virus outbreak. As a result, they will be prone to betting on events where they are unable to estimate the outcome.

Operators up their advertising efforts

With big sporting events canceled around the world, gambling operators are promoting more obscure sporting options like computer-generated virtual sports. This is what prompted the daily betting limit request by MPs.

32Red has advertised on Twitter to gain more customers for online casino games. Betway and MansionBet have paid for listings on Google that promote virtual events which see players betting on computer-generated football games.

According to VSO News, gamblers are opting for online casino games due to the loss of sports betting options. Those who normally wager on sports are now accessing online casinos for their gaming. Both Playtech and GVC have confirmed the new trend. GVC has seen a solid increase in virtual racing, particularly since such events as the Grand National has been canceled.

This past Friday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered all land-based casinos and betting shops to shut down immediately. VSO News reported that officials asked that all non-essential establishments temporarily stop offering their services. The measure was taken as the COVID-19 death rate in the UK increased to 184. Other establishments like restaurants, cinemas, bars, and nightclubs also closed their doors.