Social Market Foundation Propose £100 a Month Spending Cap on Gambling Online

A report published by the Social Market Foundation propose a deposit limit of £100 a month for online gambling

The Social Market Foundation, a self styled non-partisan think tank, who are funded  through sponsorship of their research, public policy debates and  political party conference work, have today released a report into online gambling, with the main recommendation being that a £100 a month spending cap should be implemented.

The report’s lead author, is  a Dr James Noyes who is a leading authority on gambling policy and a former advisor to Tom Watson. Tom Watson being the former Labour Party Deputy Leader, who himself has been an outspoken critic of the iGaming industry over the past years.

So not surprisingly the main take-away from the report is that online gamblers should be ‘protected’ by a deposit limit imposed on them by UKGC licensed operators of £100 a month. With said limit only being increased, once a player has been subjected to strict affordability checks by an independent gambling ombudsman.

No doubt making bad reading for all involved in the iGaming industry  within the UK. With the likes of operators, software providers, affiliates and players, all to be affected should the recommendations made in the report come to fruition.

The recommendations proposed by the Social Market Foundation comes about just six weeks after the report into gambling harm by the APPG was published. As is the case with the report produced by the APPG, the Social Market Foundation also propose a bet size limit on online slots, ranging between £1 and £5.

The full report, where all 82 pages can be accessed here, also recommends and proposes a complete reform of the way gambling operators are taxed. With iGaming operators based in offshore jurisdictions such as Gibraltar and the Isle of Man being taxed at a higher rate than what they face currently. In turn the SMF proposes the reduction of the tax burden on those operators that relocate parts or all of their operations to the UK.

Clarifying this point, a spokesperson for the SMF said: “Gambling taxation should be redesigned around a system of incentives which reflect a company’s level of onshore presence. This means that operators could still decide to base their headquarters in locations like Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, or Alderney, but that decision would carry significant tax implications.”

Another aspect of the report is a proposed shake up of the current 2005 Gambling Act, which the SMF believe is no longer “fit for purpose.” 

Dr James Noyes commenting on the report and the recommendation of imposing monthly deposit limits, stated: “For too long, gambling operators have talked about the need to protect their customers, but have not worked together in order to make affordability checks a reality. A fixed cap that applies across operators is the only way that consumers can be protected from harmful spend.”

“Our proposed threshold sets the bar low enough to protect everyone, including those on low income, but is high enough to reflect the vast majority of gambling activity among the general population. Gamblers should be free to spend more than this threshold – but only after they show that their gambling is neither unaffordable nor harmful.”

On taxation of gambling operators, Noyes added: “We need to see an end to the problem of offshore gambling tax avoidance. Gambling taxation should be redesigned around a system of incentives which reflect a company’s level of onshore presence.”

“This means that operators could still decide to base their headquarters in locations like Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, or Alderney, but that decision would carry significant tax implications. The message to online gambling operators should be clear: if you want to benefit from the British market, then make a commitment to being based in Britain.”

While addressing the need for reform of the current 2005 Gambling Act which covers the industry, Noyes went on to add: “Our gambling laws were determined by a legislative review that is now almost 20 years old. Since then, online gambling has transformed the industry’s financial and social impact beyond recognition.”

“The forthcoming Government review should be seen as an opportunity for a radical overhaul. Our laws and regulations need to catch up to ensure that British taxpayers get a fair deal, vulnerable.”

Have your say on all of the above in the Casinomeister forum, where a thread has been started here this morning, commenting on all aspects of the report and recommendations published.

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Simon Wright

Simon Wright

Simon Wright has been both a player and an observer of the online casino industry for over 15 years. His knowledge of the online casino industry – to include sports is massive. Not many folks have the experience or his knowledge about online gambling. His adoration of football is also noted. He has painted his house blue (Chelsea) and annoys his neighbors with local football songs on game days.

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