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Gambling crackdown hits 888 revenues

roulette wheel
Getty

Shares in gambling firm 888 Holdings have fallen nearly 9% after its half year results for the six months to the end of June showed that UK revenue had fallen 18%.

Chief executive Itai Frieberger, said sales had improved since then. "This follows the proactive and prudent customer protection measures that we have implemented over the last 18 months which have adversely impacted revenue."

In 2017, the firm was hit with a £7.8m penalty from the Gambling Commission after failing to protect vulnerable customers.

Overall, the group reported a pre-tax profit of £60m compared with a £17m loss the same time last year.

Overhaul of gambling regulations needed

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson
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Today the Labour Party is calling for a ban on gambling advertising during live sporting events in a bid to tackle problem gambling.

It also wants to stop people using credit cards to pay for bets and introduce a levy on gambling operators to help pay for treatment.

"What we're doing is addressing market and regulatory failure. We're not anti-gambling, we just think we need to tighten up regulations because there's been a digital revolution in these new products since the last piece of legislation," he told the Today programme.

"Even the TV industry is saying that in-sport advertising is getting out of hand and needs dealing with, and a lot of the industry is saying maybe the time is right for the levy to maybe be compulsory and not voluntary."

He says that a 1% levy would bring in about £140m a year that could be used to help treat gambling addiction, which Labour sees as an illness.

Gambling firms 'want to see change too'

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Gambling machines
Reuters

Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson claims that British gambling firms want to see regulations overhauled, because off-shore gambling firms are preying on addicts and are getting away with it.

"A lot of the big companies themselves are saying that a big problem is a lot of the gambling companies in other jurisdictions not following the rules of engagement," he added.

Labour said that there are currently 430,000 identified gambling addicts in the UK, 25,000 of whom are 16 or under.