Ministers are set to unveil new restrictions on online gambling in a bid to stem the addiction crisis
- New legislation will bring ministers affordability checks and ban free bets
- Almost half of football clubs are sponsored by gambling companies
- Boris Johnson won’t ban bookmaker logos on football shirts
Boris Johnson brings online gambling regulations to stop ‘catastrophic’ impact of addiction
Boris Johnson is bringing online gambling regulations to stem the “catastrophic” impact of addiction – but he won’t ban betting slogans on football shirts.
Ministers will publish a review of the legislation, including new limits on minimum bets, “non-intrusive” affordability checks and a ban on free bets and VIP packages for those who lose big.
The Gambling Commission – the industry’s regulator – will also be given new powers and additional funding, while a new ombudsman will strengthen the rights of customers if gambling companies fail to take social responsibility.
But ministers have dropped plans to prevent bookmakers from sponsoring Premier League football shirts. Instead, the government hopes to reach a voluntary agreement with football clubs.
Nearly half of the clubs were sponsored last season by gambling companies, including Newcastle and West Ham. Plans to tax the gambling industry to fund research into addiction and treatment have also been scrapped.
Newcastle Football Club sponsored Fun88 sports betting site for the last season
Regulations for traditional casinos will be relaxed to level the playing field with online competitors. For example, big street casinos will be allowed to install up to 80 gaming machines – above 20. The government says online revenue could drop by more than £700m as a result of the new rules.