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Gamblers who lose £500 a year could face background checks in new law changes

Gamblers who lose £500 a year could face background checks in new law changes

The proposals come following the increased popularity of online gambling

Gamblers who lose £125 a month or £500 within a year could be subject to background checks under new laws proposed by the government.

The plans were presented to MPs this week by Lucy Frazer, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, following a review involving 16,000 submissions of evidence and meetings with stakeholders.

Explaining that 'it has become clear that we must do more to protect those at risk of addiction and associated unaffordable losses', the proposal suggests that gambling operators should be obliged to conduct checks on people whose gambling habits are likely to be 'unaffordable and harmful'.

Slot machines are now available online as well as in store.

"We live in an age where people have a virtual mobile casino in their pockets," Frazer said. "It has made gambling easier, quicker and often more fun, but when things go wrong it can see people lose thousands of pounds in a few swipes of the screen.

"So we are stepping in to update the law for those most at risk of harm with a new levy on gambling operators to pay for treatment and education, player protection checks and new online slots stake limits."

The Gambling Commission is set to consult on forms of financial risk check which could take place for customers with potentially concerning habits, the first of which would take place if the customer has £125 net loss within a month or £500 within a year.

At this stage, the proposal suggests a background check is conducted to 'check for financial vulnerability indicators such as County Court Judgments'.

People can lose money in minutes online.

If customers are losing £1,000 within 24 hours or £2,000 within 90 days, the proposal suggests 'a more detailed consideration of a customer’s financial position' - though these figures could be halved if those gambling are aged between 18 and 24.

"Our intention is that these checks will also be frictionless for customers and conducted online by credit reference agencies or through other means such as open banking in the first instance," the proposal explains.

Other proposals laid out in the plans include a maximum stake of £2 to £15 per spin on online slot games, with a £2 or £4 cap for players under 25, and new limits on bonus offers.

The commission is also set to look at competitions which offer 'significant prizes' like homes or cars to ensure there is sufficient player protection.

Frazer has suggested such measures will 'strengthen the safety net and help deliver our long-term plan to help build stronger communities while allowing millions of people to continue to play safely'.

Featured Image Credit: MediaWorldImages / Alamy Stock Photo/Matthew Chattle / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Gambling, Sport, Money, Politics, UK News