UK MPs Call for Introduction of £2 Stake Limit for Online Betting

  • A group of campaigners and MPs sent a letter to The Telegraph calling for government reforms
  • The letter stated that over 55,000 children between 11 and 16 years old are problem gamblers
  • Strict affordability checks would have to be in place to offer customers higher limits
  • The UK government is set to publish its white paper on gambling legislation reform in early 2022
Man holding a smartphone and credit card for betting on sports
A group of UK MPs and campaigners has called upon the government to introduce significant gambling reforms, including a £2 ($2.67) limit on online bets. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Calling for bold government action

Many UK MPs and campaigners are calling for the introduction of a £2 ($2.67) limit for online betting. The group of campaigners and more than 160 MPs from all political parties sent a joint letter to The Telegraph highlighting the serious problem that gambling poses to young people in the region.

introduction of mandatory deposit limits for certain customers and a strict cap on online bet sizes

The letter that The Telegraph published on Wednesday calls for the UK government to commit to strong gambling reforms in order to curb the spread of problem gambling. These reforms would include the introduction of mandatory deposit limits for certain customers and a strict cap on online bet sizes.

Numerous notable names signed the letter, including former BBC chairman Lord Grade and former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith. The letter states that more than 55,000 kids in the UK between 11 and 16 years old currently fall under the categorization of being problem gamblers.

Some of the proposals

The letter references analysis from Public Health England (PHE) that estimates the social and economic cost of gambling each year to be no lower than £1.27bn ($1.7bn). Some of these costs include breakdowns in families, bankruptcy, and unemployment.

One of the main recommendations from the letter is introducing limits on online deposits that would be similar to those that are already in place at high-street sportsbooks. This proposal could see UK gamblers only being able to spend £100 ($133.29) each month, as well as having a max bet size online of £2 ($2.67).

for gamblers to get access to higher limits, there would be very strict affordability checks

For gamblers to get access to higher limits, there would be very strict affordability checks the operator would need to carry out to ensure that these players do not spend more than they can afford to lose. The letter wants any operator that fails to meet these types of requirements to lose their operating license.

The group is also calling for an end to VIP schemes that operators offer to valuable players. The letter states that these types of enticements are “immoral” and that operators should not be able to treat these high spenders differently from regular users just to get them to spend extra money.  

Nearing the end of the review

The UK government is getting closer to the end of its review of the region’s main gambling legislation. Since starting the review process in December 2020, the government has taken feedback from a wide range of stakeholders, experts, and campaigners. Significant changes are expected off the back of the white paper that is due for publication early next year.  

One of the key areas of focus of the review appears to relate to gambling advertising. While a whistle-to-whistle ban on gambling-related advertising during live sporting events is already in place, there are calls for the government to go way beyond this, including a potential ban on gambling companies being able to sponsor the jerseys and stadiums of sports teams.