The Campaign for Fairer Gambling writes to explore legislative changes to online gambling, given that current laws “came into force during a period when internet gambling was only getting started, and smartphones hadn’t even been invented”.
The first step to solving a problem is acknowledging that one exists. That’s what gambling addicts are often told in therapy, but it can be applied to any given scenario. Which is why the bookies’ trade body, the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB), did themselves very few favours by publicly refusing to accept there was an issue with FOBTs.
For years, the ABB appeared as though they were in denial, which meant despite the evidence of harm building and public opinion turning more heavily against their high stakes machines, the bookies were in no position to offer any meaningful concessions such as voluntarily reducing the maximum stake from £100 a spin.
It appears as though lessons might have been learnt from that failure as the ABB looks set to fold, with the creation of a new lobby group that may encompass both remote and non-remote betting.
BBC Radio 5 Live revealed the case of a man with a brain injury, incurred from a violent assault, losing £210,000 in compensation money to online gambling firms which, despite in some cases deposits exceeding tens of thousands of pounds in a matter of hours, carried out no social responsibility checks
As reported by the Financial Times, the Gambling Commission is considering a ban on permitting gambling via credit cards, which account for between 10 and 20 per cent of deposits online.