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UK Government seeks greater protection for online gamblers

Recently the UK’s Minister of Tourism and Heritage, John Penrose, called for a change in Britain’s laws which govern games such as the National Lottery, online bingo and other games commonly found on bingo websites such as poker, roulette and blackjack.

As online gambling increases in popularity, the UK government is looking at ways to protect consumers.

The call came as the latest statistics from the UK Gambling Commission were released and showed a rise in the popularity of gambling within the UK.

Penrose has suggested that all gambling companies, regardless of where they are based, should require a licence from the UK Gambling Commission if they wish to offer their services to UK residents. Penrose is hoping that this would help protect people from being exploited by online gambling companies based abroad. Penrose pointed out that “Overseas operators get an unfair advantage over UK based companies, and British consumers who gamble online may have little or no protection depending on where the operator they deal with happens to be based.”

Penrose believes that his proposal will ensure “a much more consistent and higher level of protection for those people in the UK who gamble online”. He also believes that the new measures will “help fight illegal activity and corruption in betting” as operators will be required to notify the Gambling Commission about suspect betting patterns.

The latest statistics from the Gambling Commission show that there has been a steady rise in the number of people gambling in the UK over the last two years, it is now up by 0.1%. It is believed that as smartphones become both more popular and affordable, more people are taking advantage of the online gambling applications. However, in a recent UGC poll, just 12% of people said that they had taken part in some form of online gambling, however, 50% of people asked said that they play the National Lottery.

OCA News Editor

Jenny McKinnley is OCA’s financial correspondent. After spending years on the trading floor in both NY and London, she offers insight from the inside out on world financial news and events.