Sports shirt sponsorship and bonuses for big losers to be axed

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A new gambling consumer ombudsman and a ban on sports shirt sponsorship are set to be backed by ministers as part of a major shake-up of betting laws.

An official review will also ban ‘VIP’ schemes, which hand out cash bonuses and rewards to big losers, according to sources.

In addition, stakes on online slot games will be cut to £2 in line with gaming machines in high street bookmakers.

Alongside the isolation caused by the Covid lockdowns, the rise of smartphones has also made gambling easier

The Daily Mail has highlighted dozens of tragic cases of gambling-related suicide and gambling addiction in its Stop the Gambling Predators campaign

‘Binge gambling’, when punters are allowed to lose thousands in a matter of hours, will also be tackled with new limits to keep betting affordable.

A consultation closed in March with 16,000 responses and ministers are expected to announce proposals in a White Paper later this year. 

There are around 400,000 gambling addicts in the UK, including 55,000 children, while more than two million people are at risk.

The Daily Mail has highlighted dozens of tragic cases of gambling-related suicide and gambling addiction in its Stop the Gambling Predators campaign. 

MPs and campaigners set their sights on the ‘wild west’ online sector following the passing of a £2 maximum stake on ‘crack cocaine’ fixed odd betting terminals (FOBTs). 

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden condemned how smartphones allow punters to have a 24/7 ‘betting shop in your pocket’.

The review sparked a bitter battle between the gambling sector, which has boomed during the pandemic, and anti-addiction campaigners.

Matt Zarb-Cousin, director of Clean Up Gambling, called for ministers to clamp down on online betting as part of a long-awaited government review

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden condemned how smartphones allow punters to have a 24/7 ‘betting shop in your pocket’

Sources revealed the areas where there is broad agreement on curbs.One said: ‘Shirt sponsorship is pretty much nailed on.’ 

Another added: ‘There seems to be pretty common agreement around an ombudsman and consumer redress.’

They added it was ‘highly likely’ online stakes will be brought in line with those for FOBTs.

A senior source said an outright ban of ‘VIP’ schemes had won ministerial support, The Mail on Sunday said yesterday.

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