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Culture Minister Maria Miller Lays The Law Down For UK Bookmakers

Friday saw the beginning of stricter regulations coming into play in betting shops. The issue of fixed odds betting terminals remains a key campaign mission for politicians on all sides. The effects of FOBTs are in the headlines constantly and government is being forced to react to pressure from concerned groups. As we discussed en earlier reports, the bookmakers themselves acknowledge that change is underway and that tit is more beneficial for them to cooperate with government plans to regulate the industry.

As of Friday the much talked about voluntary code came into effect which basically called for staff at bookmakers to look for potential problem gamblers as well as force gamblers to take breaks. Culture Secretary Maria Miller has said that she want thee voluntary measures to be made compulsory. As of now warning messages appear when players have spent more than £250 or have been playing for more than 30 minutes.

Miller mentioned various measures she would want implemented by law in order to ensure a safer gambling industry. Miller is looking to the Gambling Commission to enforce tougher regulation that includes placing spending limits on gamblers, time restriction on the length of play and going as far as making these restrictions a prerequisite for bookmakers obtaining their licence.

She also addressed the issue of advertising and has ordered the Advertising Standards Authority to review regulations surrounding gambling adverts. Miller explained her rationale behind the new tough stance,” We want a successful gambling industry but not at the price of public protection. Player protections must be made mandatory so that every bookmaker must abide by the new rules. I have asked the Gambling Commission to make this happen. In the future, these rules will therefore form part of the operators’ licence conditions and bookmakers will have to accept them or not be able to trade.” Not that they have much choice but the Association of British Bookmakers said they welcomed the government’s plans.

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