MP Calls on Government to Avoid Puritanical Gambling Views

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Consider Gambling’s Intricacies

There are still a few weeks until a draught plan outlining some of the anticipated changes in the UK gaming industry is revealed. Minister for Gambling Chris Philip has urged everyone involved in the process to tackle the matter with pragmatism in light of this review. Scott Brenton, a conservative MP, put out his reasoning for why being too restrictive towards the gaming business would only backfire in an op-ed essay for Express. He stated that the government should steer clear of puritanical gambling beliefs.

While this is a noble ideal to defend and build the industry on, the realities were far more detailed and convoluted, allowing for an approach that ignored nuances and what gambling means to the economy and the individuals who work in it.

The most difficult rumoured adjustment so far is getting gamblers to comply with affordability inspections. This means that everyone who wants to gamble must show that they can afford it financially. This idea is logical and would provide better protection for gamblers, but some argue that it is overly intrusive and would discourage many gamblers from continuing to play.

Instead, gamblers who are dissatisfied with affordability checks can simply switch to unregulated gaming websites that continue to target UK residents. Indeed, searches for terms like “gambling websites not on GamCare” are on the rise, indicating that many prohibited gamers are looking for other, often dangerous, options.

According to some estimates, the business might lose £100 million ($130 million) as a result of affordability inspections. However, the Betting and Gaming Council said that limiting FOBTs to just £2 will result in cataclysmic changes in the business, resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs. The lowering of FOBTs limits to £2 roughly coincided with the pandemic, although the workforce has stayed substantially intact since 2019, with around 100,000 workers still employed in 2022, but the most recent figures are not yet available.

The Most Feared Tool is the Affordability Check.

According to a survey, the majority of British gamblers are hesitant to provide financial information in order to pass affordability tests. According to the report, 95% of people would not consider taking this action. Brenton fears that should the government forge ahead with affordability checks, the industry would see many of its high street betting shops close as the first victim, diminishing the return for the Treasury. Even during the epidemic, the United Kingdom generated £2.8 billion in gambling-related tax revenue.

Brenton suggested that the Treasury would be unable to compensate for a significant drop in gaming revenue and would need to proceed carefully.

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