Tom Watson calls for online gambling crackdown

Business News

The Shadow Culture Secretary Tom Watson will say that current laws are “completely unfit for the digital age” and would be reformed if his party wins the next election.

In a major speech to the IPPR think tank, Mr Watson – who is also Labour’s deputy leader – will point to the fact that gambling in betting shops is heavily regulated, while doing so online at home is not.

Whereas gambling in the offline world is highly regulated, the lack of controls on online gambling is leading to vulnerable consumers suffering huge losses,” Mr Watson will say.

“Online gambling companies have a responsibility to protect their customers from placing bets that they cannot afford. But too often, these operators have either neglected the care of their customers or have been too slow in their due diligence.

“We need to see a culture of limits introduced to internet gambling: a system of thresholds placed on the spend, stake and speed of online gambling that will give safeguards to consumers.

“Labour’s new policies announced today will provide a framework for both industry and the regulator to achieve that.”

Mr Watson will say that the failings of the current legislation are leading to “gross excesses, abuse and vulnerable problem gamblers being let down”.