UK gambling white paper expected today

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The UK government is set to publish its long-awaited white paper into the review of the country’s gambling laws today.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s review will bring in tighter restrictions for online gambling. However, regulations for land-based operations will be eased.

As reported by various outlets including the BBC and the Guardian, ministers will recommend maximum stakes for online slots be limited for the first time to £2 for under-25s, a key demographic targeted by the white paper, and £15 for older players.

Those curbs, which will go to a consultation, will nevertheless be a climbdown from the originally touted limits of between £2 and £5 for all customers.

“Light-touch” checks on the finances of online gamblers will also go to a consultation, confirming the government’s stance on so-called “affordability checks” which have been a central point of debate about the white paper.

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BBC News reported that gamblers who lose £1,000 in 24 hours, or £2,000 over 90 days, will face checks.

A potential mandatory levy on gambling firms could be set at one per cent of gambling companies’ net revenue, which will go to NHS gambling addiction services among others.

Measures to slow down online slot games could also be introduced, based on features such as quick games.

Other measures that will be set for consultation are a “polluter pays” tax, in which companies could offset one per cent of their profits, as well as limits on digital marketing.

However, restrictions on land-based casinos are set to be eased. The white paper will reportedly recommend that up to 80 gaming machines are allowed in smaller casinos, up from 20.

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The Times said in its report that bigger brick-and-mortar casinos will enjoy easier planning permissions and be allowed to offer credit to some players to encourage more “high-rollers.”

The Times added that government ministers want to push through the gambling reforms as secondary legislation, bypassing the need for votes in parliament.

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