Ministers are considering maximum stakes of between £2 and £5 for online casinos and a ban on free bets as the UK updates 17-year-old gambling legislation to address concerns about addiction, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Gaming companies could also be required to remove features from online games that increase the level of risk for customers, such as quick games in which customers can lose money faster, the person said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private.
Online casinos may also have to implement “affordability checks” to show how much users can safely spend, the person said. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other cabinet ministers are expected to sign off on a final decision within the next week.
However, the government is also mulling plans to relax regulations for physical casino operators, allowing them to install as many as 80 gaming machines, up from 20, the person said. Casinos will also be able to extend credit to wealthy foreigners as part of an attempt to level the playing field with online gaming companies.
The Gambling Commission, which regulates the industry, will be given new powers and additional funding from an increase in fees paid by the industry, the person said.
A spokesman for the Betting and Gaming Council, which represents the industry, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. A call requesting comment from the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport was unanswered.
The Times newspaper reported on the UK proposal earlier.
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.