MPs have urged gambling operators to impose a temporary daily betting cap of £50 during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a letter to the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), a group of cross-party MPs urged gambling operators to put the health and wellbeing of customers ahead of the protection of their finances. The group also suggested that operators bring in a daily betting cap to prevent customers from developing gambling-related problems during quarantine and self-isolation.
The calls come as operators have begun promoting casino games and virtual sports betting following the recent cancellations of real-life events such as the Premier League, Grand National, and all greyhound and horse racing throughout the United Kingdom.
The letter to the BGC to the BGC reads: “We are deeply concerned that as we go deeper into this crisis, more and more people will turn to online gambling as a distraction. If the industry were to self-impose a daily limit of £50… 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.”
Also in the letter, which was signed by MPs Carolyn Harris of Labour, Ronnie Cowan of the SNP, and Iain Duncan Smith of the Conservatives, were calls for operators to block customers opening multiple accounts. The group of MPs also urged operators for faster intervention regarding customers that display signs of addictions.
This week, casino operator 888 Holdings revealed in an update to the stock market that its customers are switching from sports betting to alternative gambling activities. As most real-life sports events have been cancelled, users have reportedly been flocking to slot and casino games.
According to The Guardian, a statement from 888 Holdings on the switch reads: “There is currently evidence of increased customer activity in the group’s casino and poker products that might, in part, compensate for the sports betting disruption for a period of time.”
With the increase of casino gamers, 888 Holdings has iterated that it is working harder to ensure that people showing signs of gambling-related harm are spotted faster.
The operator said: “The board recognises that, with people spending more time at home and with potentially increased stress from economic uncertainty, 888’s vigilance on safe gambling and preventing gambling-related harm is even more important than ever.
“The group continues to offer its customers support and is proactively communicating with its customers to make them aware of safe gambling tools to limit and control their play.”