The deputy leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson, has recently called for stricter online casino regulations across the UK.
Watson, has specifically called for online casinos in the UK to all have to re-apply for their licenses under a more rigorous vetting process, prior to being able to continue operating.
What has been said so far?
The MP, who has been known for being a vociferous critic of the gambling industry in the UK, has stated that he had written to the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Wright, personally in order to request that the situation on online casino licenses was reconsidered.
He stated that over a third of UK online gaming operators were currently failing their customers, and this was highlighted as one of the main reasons he would like to see stricter online casino regulation across the country.
Online casino scandals
There has unfortunately been a number of online casino gaming scandals in recent years, that was attributed to a crackdown.
In May 2019, the industry regulator, the Gambling Commission, announced that it had fined for online casino operators at a cost of £4.5 million in total.
The biggest individual fine amongst these online casino operators was £2.2 million.
These penalty payments were called for as a result of their lack of compliance on social responsibility obligations, customer due diligence as well as its lack of attention to anti-money laundering.
Lack of responsibility?
In addition, the letter that Watson has written to the Culture secretary quotes research that the Labour party independently carried out which demonstrates a lack of responsibility from a number of gaming operators in the UK.
This research showed that on average, the best online casinos across the country pay approximately £120 million in total in order to sponsor Premier League football clubs.
Comparatively, the average figure provided per team by online casino operators to Britain’s biggest gambling charity amounted to just £50 in total.
The letter goes on to state that: ‘gambling license should be a hallmark of credibility and trust. It should not be seen as an opportunity for operators to push the limits of their conditions and responsibilities.
‘The regulator cannot be in a position where it is continually playing catch-up to an opaque and agile global industry. We need a structured response to the situation. This will require a total overhaul of our register of current remote sector licenses.
‘This review would be an opportunity for existing remote license holders to re-apply for the privilege of operating and marketing in the UK.’
What are the proposed regulations?
Labour is proposing a series of regulations on online gambling law. These new regulations intending to overhaul the online gambling sector, as Watson has stated that he believes the Gambling Act 2005 is no longer fit for purpose thanks to huge progresses made in technology.
The proposed regulations would include having new rules on how much people can bet online, as well as more stringent system of checks that prevent people placing wagers that they simply cannot afford in the first place.