It’s true to say that over the years, the gambling industry within the United Kingdom has been one of its greatest success stories. Only last year it contributed £2.8 billion to the revenue of the country. However, there has been significant backlash over the lack of control over problem gamblers. This has forced the UK Gambling Commission to rethink a lot of areas, with proposals to reduce the maximum bets on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) and restrictions of gambling advertising being at the forefront.
Naturally, bookmakers on the high streets are tentatively awaiting the result of the government’s decision on such problem areas. The results of the review of over betting possibilities on FOBTs will soon be announced, and these bring in a large portion of the profits in stores. It is these machines that many charities would prefer to see a cut on, in order to do something about the country’s problem with gambling addiction.
The response from bookmakers towards this potential reduction is that it could severely impact their business. Shop closures, loss of jobs and the UK economy taking a hit are all areas that high street store operators have put forth as reasons not to reduce such maximum bets. However, this has done little to stop the Commission from issuing fines out to operators for other lax controls.
For example, it was only recently that William Hill was given a huge fine for breaching regulations regarding anti-money laundering and social responsibility. Additionally, public backlash has been rife over gambling advertisements and adverse publicity relating to FOBTs. This has seen the reputation of the gambling industry in the UK suffer somewhat.
What Has Happened to Counter This?
Due to the fact that most people are currently watching over the fate of high street betting shops, the mobile gambling world has seen a plethora of people turning towards its options. This provides a much easier way of accessing games as the vast majority of us carry a smartphone or a tablet. In fact, as it stands, the most recent statistics as far as mobile gambling goes show that a fifth of UK citizens have gambled online in the past four weeks. In 2017, the online gaming sector brought in £4.7 billion out of the total of £13.7 billion.
However, with more than 2 million people in the country being either problem gamblers or severely at risk of becoming addicted, the Commission holds concern over the fact that more needs to be done in order to protect gamers.
The near future will see an advice paper delivered to the UK government, giving out information on internet gaming. Further to this, the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) has stated that two improvements are in the making, aimed at protecting vulnerable players. This includes the introduction of GAMSTOP – a self-exclusion scheme running on a national level. It allows players to block themselves from accessing any online gaming operator holding a licence from the Commission.
GambleAware built on the problems that the UK gambling industry faces, stating that it is unacceptable how there aren’t any limitations on stakes or prizes. The organisation has also called for a ban on people using credit or debit cards to fund their accounts at online gambling locations.