The Remote Gambling Association (RGA) has warned Labour Deputy Leader Tom Watson that his party’s recommendations to introduce curbs on stake, spend and game speed for online gambling could send players to illegal offshore sites.
Watson will today make a call for a new Gambling Act with the introduction of a new ‘Category E‘ designation to sit alongside the Categories A-D for land based gaming machines and bring online slots more into synch with the rest of the industry.
However the RGA said that the online sector is totally removed from the land-based business as more safeguards are already in place because every player’s activity can be tracked and monitored through their online account.
It said in a statement: “We fully embrace the need to move faster to tackle problem gambling through effective regulation based on innovation, evidence and customer data and we are committed to working with the Government and Opposition to achieve that goal.
“We support moves towards affordability and targeted intervention to ensure that those at risk of harm are identified without restricting or penalising those who enjoy their play and gamble responsibly. Online operators continually monitor patterns of play making thousands of interventions each month to prevent harm occurring and we will input fully to this responsible gambling policy process.
“The online environment has the huge advantage of providing a complete overview of player spending patterns and behaviours, using this information can prove to be a more effective and more sophisticated way to tackle problem gambling and thereby avoid arbitrary limits that risk driving customers to the unregulated and illegal gambling market.”
The current discourse around the gambling industry in both media and political circles is not conducive to facts, so the industry may have another battle on its hands if it is to convince law makers that spending limits may not actually be necessary.