An Extreme Drop in the Cap for Online Play Proposed by SMF has BGC and Stakeholders Up in Arms

Published August 25, 2020 by Lee R

An Extreme Drop in the Cap for Online Play Proposed by SMF has BGC and Stakeholders Up in Arms

Trade group representative Betting and Gaming Council says SMF protection propositions are not actually solutions.

The gaming industry is miffed with with a new set of regulations proposed by a British public policy group, but one anti-addiction measure is sticking in the craw of stakeholders the most: the requirement of players to show they can afford their losses.

SMF's Controversial List

Respected UK public policy think tank The Social Market Foundation SMF launched the debate through a comprehensive list of restrictions overhauling the UK online gaming industry.

The Limit in Question

The would-be edict calls for a £100 ($131 USD) per month soft cap on online losses, with anyone over required to consult with an independent gambling ombudsman.

BGC's Objections

The operator trade association Betting and Gaming Council led the resistance in the court of public opinion by vociferously objecting to the notion in a statement, saying that “there is no other area of the economy where the government determines how much money and individual can spend,” and further calling the application “arbitrary and random.”

BGC defended the right of “some 30 million people” to “enjoy an occasional bet, whether that’s on the lottery, bingo, or sports and gaming,” when “the overwhelming majority of them do so perfectly safely.”

BGC Data Argument

BGC data indicates problem gambling is not on the rise, with levels remaining “stagnant” for the last two decades at approximately 0.7 percent. The BGC asserts the monthly caps proposed will not protect problem gamblers, but drive them to bet and play offshore.

FOBT Row Rears Up

The new application to slots is an extension of the ongoing fixed-odds betting terminal FOBT controversy, where the introduction of a £2 ($2.63 USD) maximum stake last year off a max bet limit of £100 led to outcry from trade groups and operators and the mass closure of betting shops by land-based mainstay William Hill.

Outlook

Besides the lighting rod justification that addiction protection represents, the very real possibility of compulsive types resourcefully resorting to offshore options stands as the main lingering variable to achieving the desired outcomes of more stringent limits such as said proposal for players to prove they can absorb losses. When it comes to addiction, the compliance of the players is as much of a factor as the compliance of operators.

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