Gambling: UK to intensify online game checks and new regulations targeting high spenders amid rising losses

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The additional checks will be brought in on 30 August 2024

Online gamblers who lose £500 or more a month will soon face additional checks from the regulator for Great Britain, which says the stringent new requirements it will be imposing, later in the year will eventually also outlaw some features of online games.

The additional checks will be brought in on 30 August 2024, with the qualifying threshold of monthly losses from online betting dropping to £150 on 28 February 2025.

According to Stuart Andrew, the minister responsible for gambling policy, checks would only be required for 20% of customers. The MP said that the customer would be unaware of these checks, as they will happen in the background.

The new checks have been prompted by the government’s release of a white paper on gambling reform last year. Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer told the House of Commons that the white paper would strengthen oversight of an industry that has the potential to, at worst, "wreck lives."

But not everybody is in support of the changes, including Charles Ritchie, co-founder of Gambling with Lives, a charity that helps families grieving from gambling-related suicide deaths and advocates for legislative changes.

Ritchie said: “We know that the onset of addiction can be rapid and that some gambling products harm half the people who use them. So the overwhelming message from people who have been harmed by gambling is that intervention needs to be early and effective.”

Additionally, features of online poker platforms and casinos that give users only the impression of control will be prohibited, which could include anything from "turbo" and "slam stops" to autoplay, sounds and images.

Andrew Rhodes, the chief executive of the Gambling Commission, said: “We have to get the balance right between protecting people from the potentially life-ruining effects of gambling-related harm and respecting the freedom of adults to engage in an activity that the vast majority do so without experiencing harm."

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