Social Market Campaign Calls For ‘Soft Cap’ On Gambling Purchases

Cross-party think-tank The Social Market Foundation has called for a ‘soft cap’ limit of £100 a month (or £23 a week) on net deposits to be extended to all consumer purchases to ensure that gambling practises do not constitute significant financial harm.

The proposals are part of a larger study that seeks to provide a blueprint of guidelines for reforming gambling law and industry, and come ahead of the expected government review of the Gambling Act of 2005.

The report also supports the establishment of stake limits between £ 1 and £5 for online slots, with non-slot content enforcing limitations based on games design with the understanding that “similar (stake) limits would make the content commercially non-viable.”

In addition, the SMF has also introduced the implementation of a compulsory kitemark for all licenced operators, which would be granted to any operator licenced and adhered to by LCCP, which would be clearly visible on site. There’s even been a call for eliminating white label schemes.

A reform of the gambling taxes is also called for, proposing that remote gambling tax be calculated by a requirement of minimum onshore ‘footprinting’ requirements based on the cash, individual, social, legal and digital presence of an operator in the UK.

The report states: “We advocate a system of inbuilt incentives – most likely in the form of tax rebates on any future increased rates of Remote Gaming Duty and Betting Duty – for those companies which have established a sufficient threshold of their activities onshore.”

Edited by former Labour MP consultant James Noyes Tom Watson and Jake Shepherd, the SMF comments in its Executive summary: “We believe that when the government comes to review the 2005 Gambling Act, it needs to go further than a mere examination of loot boxes, stake limits and levies, and should use the review as an opportunity to interrogate the political, economic and cultural context of gambling in the 21st Century: a rapidly-evolving world of smartphones, social media, data analytics and offshore tax evasion.

“This is what government ought to mean when it refers to bringing ‘an analogue act’ into line with ‘the digital age’. The forthcoming review requires a fundamental rethinking of the relationship between gambling and technological change – by this, we mean the relationship between machines, human behaviour and capital.”