MP: Scheme to stop gambling ‘not worth it’
A SWANSEA MP has slammed a new scheme designed to help problem gamblers as “not worth it” after it emerged they are cheating the system.
Carolyn Harris, MP for Swansea East, has blasted the Gamstop initiative, which was kick-started last April and saw more than 50,000 people signup. Its aim was to allow addicts to ban themselves from online betting platforms – but by changing their user details people could still place bets as they did before.
Mrs Harris, who chairs a cross-party group of MPS on gambling-related harm, added: “Any system which is easily manipulated like this is not worth it – they have to be robust enough to withstand deliberate attempts to get around them.”
Mrs Harris has successfully campaigned to have a £100 stake cut to just £2 on fixed-odds betting terminals and lobbied British Airways into a U-turn on using an advert promoting its holidays with a young couple in a casino. She made clear “in order to protect vulnerable people, gambling should not be promoted as a glamorous life-enhancing activity.”
Gamstop’s head Fiona Palmer said she did not believe the service was working well enough.
She said: “We are taking on board the feedback and we are looking to improve the scheme.”
Industry regulators the Gambling Commission are looking to release the details of its consultation on using ID verification, which would block customers gambling using incorrect details on online gambling sites.
Meanwhile, the Association of British Bookmakers said it was “disappointed” with the findings.
The Senet Group, which relies on cash from bookmakers to run the scheme, said “the results of this investigation are disappointing” but insisted MOSES [Multi Operator Self Exclusions Scheme] is an “important first step for people who genuinely want to reduce their gambling.”