According to the deputy leader of the Labour party, Tom Watson, the party is going to release plans to set up a new gambling ombudsman in order to protect the consumers of the industry. This comes after there have been a large number of concerns raised about the exploitation of consumers in the gambling industry.
Following a party review, Watson will reveal the plans to create a new gambling act to overhaul the current betting regulation in the UK. The Labour Party has said that they will help to lower the rates of problem gambling, including even banning the use of credit cards for betting.
Watson has stated that the new ombudsman will be a part of a system which already includes the NHS and the UK Gambling Commission, who are the current gambling industry regulators. They will fund research into treatment for problem gambling as well as education surrounding the matter.
According to Watson, the existing regulation in the gambling industry urges gambling firms to avoid falling foul of the gambling commission by doing “dirty deals” with vulnerable customers and with the UK growing as a global player in online and offline casinos, this has become a stronger emphasis for Watson.
Problem Gamblers Still a Problem
It was investigated last year that Ladbrokes were able to accept millions of pounds from a problem gambler who had stolen all the money. The firm agreed to repay the victims of his theft, however an agreement had to be signed to prevent information from reaching the industry regulator.
Another example that Watson has spoken about is about a Woman who lost around 40,000 pounds on 12 different credit cards from gambling. Even after losing all this money, online betting firms Casumo and LeoVegas offered her bonuses and free bets to keep gambling.
Watson has said “I cannot think of a single other type of transactional arrangement for goods or financial services that would allow this type of situation: unclear terms and conditions, a lack of transparency, a lack of framework – and fuelled by predatory bonus offers”
The new ombudsman offered by Labour will implement fines if bookmakers or online casinos are unable to abide by their obligation to prevent problem gambling. There would also be a much clearer terms and conditions to ensure that all firms are fully aware of their responsibilities.