UK: Limits on gambling spends to encourage underground activities

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The UK government’s latest white paper outlining gambling reforms might pave the way for illegal betting platforms to flourish in the country. The white paper, which was released on April 27 and titled ‘High stakes: gambling reform for the digital age’, aims to enforce various kinds of restrictions which experts believe can drive away gamblers towards unlawful entities.

When it comes to high-risk online slot machines accepting wagers between £2 and £15 per spin the government intends to consult in order to lower limits. The idea behind it is to mitigate the losses, even if a player goes on a spree. Further, another set of restrictions will kick in after a person loses £1,000 in a day or £2,000 in 90 days.

According to the white paper, around 300,000 UK citizens suffer from problem gambling and it is leading to several issues like financial harm and in some cases even threats to life of young people.

The proposed rules intend to give even more power to the Gambling Commission in order to necessitate all the steps required to keep various forms of gambling addictions at bay, as the paper also claims that nearly half of all adults partake in some form of gambling in the UK.

While the new policy might succeed in preventing young adults from indulging in problem gambling, people who are already addicted will most likely look for alternative avenues to gamble. As a rule of thumb, the more restrictions are enforced on a certain activity, the more likely people will choose an alternative or illegal method to indulge in it.

The BBC News recently spoke to an ex-gambling addict, Lea, on this matter who believes these restrictions will only lead to people using illegal gambling sites. He said while the previous restrictions helped him to rethink his choices when he was restricted from gambling, the same cannot be said for problem gamblers as during the time they are restricted from gambling, no one is there to address their problems.

The government has one more problem to deal with which is how it will enforce any form of restriction if an addict starts using IDs of family members and friends to gamble online. Currently, there is no way to properly verify if a user is actually using their own account or someone else’s.