SMF calls for gamblers to prove they can afford losses

  • Updated
  • By Hannah Timoney
SMF calls for online gambling soft cap

With a rise in digital gambling over the recent years, new legislation proposed by the Social Market Foundation (SMF) calls for a ‘soft cap’ of £100 per month on net deposits at an online casino site

The SMF has determined that if an individual exceeds this value they should be investigated by an independent gambling advocate to ensure that they can afford the losses and are not in danger of ‘over-gambling’ or developing an addiction. 

This report comes ahead of a scathing indictment of the 2005 Gambling Act, which is said to be no longer suitable for this new era of gambling. The soft cap is determined based on an analysis of income and living standards, and reflects what is considered a ‘socially acceptable’ level of gambling, ensuring gamblers do not exceed what they cannot afford, pushing themselves into financial instability.

The UK Gambling Market contends these caps will have negative effects on the economic contribution of the gambling industry, following the reduced maximum bet rates on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to £2 last year. This stake limit heavily affected William Hill, who reported a 39% loss after the introduction of this limit.

Back in October 2019, UK MPs called for the £2 stake limit restriction to also be applied to all online gambling too, meaning the most you could spin on your favourite slot game is £2 anywhere. 

“We disagree with the suggestion of an arbitrary and random low cap on spending, and can think of no other area of the economy where the government determines how much an individual can spend,” read a statement from the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC). 

“Some 30 million people enjoy an occasional bet, whether that’s on the lottery, bingo, or sports and gaming, and the overwhelming majority of them do so perfectly safely.”

However, the soft cap is exactly that - a soft cap. If a gambler can prove they can afford their gambling they are free to continue. The report calls for more responsibility from the gaming industry, updated measures that reflect the digital gambling age, and better support for those who may have an addiction.

For more information on managing your gambling, check out our responsible gambling guides.