Warning on gambling shake-up as key demands are to be watered down, sparking fury among campaigners

 A mandatory levy on betting companies could be dropped from proposalsSir Iain Duncan Smith said the statutory levy could still be included last night The British Medical Association wants gambling to be treated as a health riskOnline casino stakes to be capped at between £2 and £5 –  in line with machines

Long-awaited curbs on gambling are set to be watered down, causing fury for industry campaigners.

former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith told the Daily Mail: 'These are companies that make a shed-load of profit.'

former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith told the Daily Mail: ‘These are companies that make a shed-load of profit.’

A mandatory levy on betting companies, which would pay for vital addiction treatment, is at risk of being dropped from proposals expected in the coming weeks.

Firms would be allowed to continue with voluntary contributions, albeit with a ‘significant uplift’, sources have said. Sponsorship in sport may also be allowed to continue unabated after a backlash from football clubs over plans to ban gambling adverts on shirts.

And while bookmakers will be forced to carry out financial checks on punters, the amount they can spend unchecked has not yet been agreed. However, in one victory for campaigners, online casino stakes will be capped at between £2 and £5 – putting them in line with machines in high street shops – and ‘VIP’ schemes rewarding the biggest losers will be banned.

Last night former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said he believed the long-overdue White Paper had not yet been finalised and the statutory levy could still be included.

‘I personally think they have to have a statutory levy,’ he told the Daily Mail. ‘These are companies that make a shed-load of profit.’ And he warned ministers they will face a rebellion if they ‘emasculate’ the shake-up.

The British Medical Association wants gambling to be treated as a health risk

The British Medical Association wants gambling to be treated as a health risk

Annie Ashton, 40, who lost her husband Luke last year after he was ‘consumed’ by betting bonuses, said: ‘These are pathetic half-baked measures that will not prevent harm. How can ministers claim to have listened and acknowledged the dangers of the predatory practices of the industry with this?

‘There is nothing worse than the feeling that you are talking to a brick wall after losing a loved one to gambling-related suicide.’

Liz Ritchie, who lost her son Jack, 24, after he was bombarded with offers and emails on his mobile phone, said: ‘More than 400 people take their life every year because of gambling, each one of those is a devastated family, and if the Government doesn’t act many more people will die.

Liz Ritchie lost her son Jack, 24, after he was bombarded with offers and emails on his mobile phone

Liz Ritchie lost her son Jack, 24, after he was bombarded with offers and emails on his mobile phone

‘We need an end to all gambling advertising, we need preventative affordability checks when losses reach £100 a month and we need a smart statutory levy on gambling industry income to pay for truly independent public health messaging, research and treatment.’

It came as doctors demanded coroners should be allowed to cite gambling as a factor in suicide when recording causes of death. The British Medical Association also wants gambling to be treated as a health risk and called for tighter industry regulation at its annual conference yesterday.

The medics warned the NHS needs more resources and training dedicated to treating problem gambling.

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