The UK Gambling Commission is generally well thought of across the iGaming industry, with both casinos and gamblers respecting how the UK authority responsible for both online and land-based gambling handles the market and encourages targeted growth.
However, after recent reviews, one worrying signal is coming out of the UKGC and that is the possibility of bet limits of a maximum limit £100 per month.
At this time, that figure seems shockingly low and some news outlets are touting it around as clickbait. If the UKGC did take such a hard-line approach, it would send the UK gambling sector tumbling and surely harm a sector that is a steady tax base during these hard times. Currently, the actual max bet amount requested by those lobbying MPs is 200% more, which would cap betting at £2,000 per month.
For the time being, most reports and comments coming via the UKGC regarding the subject of a ‘fixed top limit’ focus mainly on sports betting. Yet, it is thought that the bet limit figure is using sports as the name touted on the circuit while it may well apply to all gambling activities UK wide arguably with the exception of land-based casinos where bet limits are at the casino’s degression.
Where are the max bet limit requests coming from?
It seems that certain groups that are both against the gambling industry and those that agree it can co-exist with tighter ‘affordability check’ are now getting together to send letters to MPs to look at the harmful effects of gambling in the UK. The max bet limits will likely be £2,000 per month while for some reason the ‘£100 per month’ number is out there and just ridiculous.
It looks like scaremongering tactics are in play, so the UKGC and UK government agree on far less than £2,000 per month and not a higher amount. There is also a chance that some land-based casinos are in on the act deviously supporting the bet limits by lobbying for the caps to be applied to online sports betting and casino sites with the hope that high rollers playing live dealer games online will have no choice but to visit brick and mortar establishments to place high stakes bets.
Of course, like the £100 per month figure, which seems as if someone just randomly threw it out there, we are also speculating. That said, if you look at how the US gambling market panned out 10 years ago when online casinos and sportsbooks were eventually banned in the country, we saw plenty of lobbyers and anti-online gambling groups were supported by land-based casinos looking to dismantle the online casino industry for fear it would reduce their revenues.
Weighing up the evidence we have seen thus far, it seems that because of a ridiculously small minority of problem gamblers, the entire nation would suffer from a £100 per month bet threshold. It would also be a rash and extreme policy that would harm the UKs gambling industry. It would result in less capital invested in sports and sports teams that reply on sponsorship from the online gambling sector.
Racing Industry Would Lose Up to £60 million a year
Meanwhile, a large number of online casinos would likely exit the UK market as the value of the market share would not be worth sponsorships or advertising. Already the racing industry said that a low limit of £100 a month would wipe out £60 million a year decline in revenue. That’s just a single industry and plenty of tax for the UK government. If we include online casinos, lottery, poker, football, tennis, cricket, and it would be ludicrous to set any limit below £2,000 per month.
When would the UKGC Bewildering Max Bet Limits come into force?
The UKGC’s full review is expected to complete by 9 February. This is the set date for the end of the UKGC’s gaming review, which is now in its 3rd month of digression after beginning in November. With all the positives that came out of the session so far, it would be a travesty to ruin it with a cap that could severely affect thousands of jobs in the gambling industry, numerous sports, and a much-needed tax base.
As for those affected, the average gambler bets between £100 and £500 per month in the UK, which would keep the industry alive and well. It is rare for someone spending this amount to have a ‘gambling problem’ while those with serious issues may bet in excess of £2,000 with a salary that does not match their betting habits. Even then, the average wage per month after tax is £1,730. Therefore, any notion that a £100 per month limit is sensible is obviously unrealistic.