APPG calls for £50 daily gambling limit in Covid-19 pandemic

23 March 2020

The Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has called on the British gambling industry to impose a £50 daily spending limit for customers during the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

In a letter to trade association the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), the APPG called on operators to “do their bit” by taking urgent measures to protect the nation’s financial and mental health.

“As our daily life becomes increasingly restricted and bars, pubs and entertainment venues close, many millions of people will now be at home with time on their hands,” the group wrote. “Many will turn to the mini casino on their mobile phone for entertainment. Some of these will never have considered online gambling before; others will have spent years trying to avoid it.”

The APPG said it was deeply concerned that more and more people would turn to online gambling as a distraction as the crisis deepens.

“If the industry were to self-impose a daily limit of £50 for every individual who becomes active on gambling sites, it would be clear demonstration that the industry is willing to act responsibly and do what they can to protect society and peoples’ finances, at this dreadful time,” it said.

The APPG acknowledged that many gamblers would have multiple accounts with different operators, that not all players will have a problem, and that many would be able to afford to gamble more than £50 a day.

“But in the spirit of working together and preventing harm, we urge you to; introduce this £50 a day maximum spend; to suspend the facility for individuals to open extra accounts when they are known to already have an account; and to increase interventions to protect gamblers.

“We urge the industry to do the right thing and take immediate steps to protect the financial and mental wellbeing of our society in these unprecedented and deeply uncertain times.”

The APPG has emerged as a major advocate for a regulatory overhaul of the gambling industry in the past year, with its calls for a £2 online slot stake cap leading to significant falls in operator stock prices. It is also pushing for a revamp of the GB Gambling Commission, arguing that the regulator is not fit for purpose.

The body's chair Carolyn Harris MP was interviewed by iGB earlier this month, in which she set out the case for change.