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Labour proposes a new ombudsman for gambling industry

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission is one of the strictest and most respectable regulatory bodies in the world.

As a result, UK casinos and new slots sites licensed by it project an image of trustworthiness and are preferred by players who cherish security above everything else. The gambling laws in the UK have changed over the last couple of years, making the industry safer, while increasing the taxation levels. A big change is looming at the horizon as Labour contemplates the possibility of setting up a new gambling ombudsman.


Tom Watson is likely to make this proposal, as the deputy leader is concerned about the predatory practices in the gambling industry. A new Gambling Act will change betting regulation, in an attempt of dealing with what the party regards a serious threat for consumers. A few weeks ago, the discussion regarding the possible banning of credit cards for online betting rocked the UK gambling industry.

What to expect from the new ombudsman?

Tom Watson wants the new ombudsman to work closely with the NHS, as well as the Gambling Commission to mitigate the risks of problem gambling. The goal is to address the threat posed by the gambling firms who take advantage of vulnerable people, by exploiting the existing holes in the regulatory regime. Some companies were exposed over the years for accepting money from problem gamblers, instead of limiting and restricting their access to online gaming services.

The UK GC does its part in maintaining a safe gambling environment in the United Kingdom, but Labour thinks that more needs to be done. While it is not common practice, some casinos offer bonuses and free bets to players who lose huge amounts, to keep them gambling further. Many changes are needed, with more transparency and clear terms and conditions among them. The current laws don’t do enough to address the threat of predatory bonus offers and this is something that some lawmakers want to change.

What changes can new gambling legislation bring?

At the time of writing, the UK GC can fine gambling companies that don’t respect the gambling license. The new ombudsman will be able to go a step further and compensate consumers if the bookmakers take advantage of them. The sensitive issue of problem gambling is yet to be fully addressed and according to those who have proposed these changes, the wheel should be set in motion quickly. Online gambling operators need to live up to their obligation and the ombudsman will keep a close eye on their dealings.

Not surprisingly, some online casinos and bookmakers were not happy with these proposed changes, but campaign groups safeguarding the interests of punters are celebrating. Some of them have been asking for a new ombudsman for years, as they regard him as essential for protecting customers. Labour also has other things in mind, such as a mandatory levy on gambling companies of nearly £100m, which would represent a tenfold increase compared to the current voluntary donation paid by the industry.