Four big changes to online gambling rules under new plans including a BAN on free bets | The Sun

The GOVERNMENT is set to announce curbs on online gambling over fears the industry is ruining lives and costing hundreds of millions.

Ministers will publish a review of a 17-year-old gambling law over concerns it is outdated for the modern day, The Times reports.

The curbs will include maximum stakes of between £2 and £5 for online casinos, a ban on free bets and VIP packages for gamblers who suffer big losses and "non-intrusive" affordability checks.

Affordability checks see problem gamblers running up losses asked to prove they can afford to continue betting.

Gambling companies will also have to take off features from online games that increase the level of risk for customers, including quick games in which customers can lose money faster.

It comes after a Public Health England (PHE) study last September found the rough overall cost of health harms caused by gambling was around £960million.

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That includes suicide, which costs £619.2million.

The study also found an estimated 409 suicides were linked to gambling in England every year.

An inquest into the death of teacher Jack Ritchie earlier this year found the 24-year-old teacher was failed by "woefully inadequate" warnings and treatments.

Campaigners have also shared concerns over the ever-present nature of advertising on television and in the sporting world.

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Meanwhile, ministers have dropped plans to ban gambling companies from sponsoring Premier League football shirts.

Almost half of the clubs in the competition last year were sponsored by gambling companies.

The Sun recently spoke exclusively to a former gambling addict who ran up hundreds of thousands of pounds of debt and tried to take her own life twice.

What should you do if someone you know has a gambling problem?

There are a number of steps you can take if you believe someone you know is struggling with a gambling addiction.

Be Gamble Aware's website suggests a number of steps you can take to help someone who might need help.

Some of the steps include: understanding what an addict is going through, knowing how to talk to someone with a gambling addiction, and avoiding rewarding gambling behaviour.

If you personally are struggling with an addiction, the NHS has a useful webpage which offers a range of helpful tips.

Some include trying cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), a talking therapy that can help change the way you think and behave.

There are also treatment and support groups available for people wanting to stop gambling.

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GamCare offers free information, support and counselling for problem gamblers in the UK.

It runs the National Gambling Helpline (0808 8020 133) and also offers face-to-face counselling.

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