With grievances that range from unpaid winning bets to allegations of insidious campaigns to lure vulnerable problem gamblers, complaints against British gambling companies have skyrocketed by at least 5,000% in the span of just five years.
These numbers come from the UK Gambling Commission which show that there were only 169 gambling-related customer complaints in 2013 compared to the 8,266 reported complaints filed with the gambling watchdog in 2018.
Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur, for one, sees the surging numbers as a “good sign”. McArthur explained that the rising number of complaints can be attributed to more consumers seeking accountability from large scale gambling operators. The chief regulator is urging the public to continue reporting the unscrupulous actions of gaming companies to the Commission.
Record £14.5 Billion Lost in 2018
The UKGC said that gamblers are now forfeiting nearly twice as much to gambling companies as they were ten years ago. In 2018 alone, British bettors lost at least £14.5 billion which gives you an idea of how lucrative the gambling market in the UK really is.
The gambling industry has witnessed rapid growth since the UK government eased restrictions on wagering and gaming advertising in 2007. The numbers have been fueled even more in recent years with the rise of online gambling and the wider pool of potential clientele that it brings.
The UK had a reputation for being one of the most lenient gambling markets in the world which helped the market grow exponentially. However, British bettors have suffered due to this as many gambling operators have breached these laws for a number of years. The gambling watchdog has taken a stronger approach to penalising operators who do not comply with gambling regulations in the last couple of years in an effort to offer better protection to UK players.
One of the more serious complaints that the gambling watchdog will have to look comes from players who have put themselves on the self-exclusion list. Most gambling websites like LeoVegas who have themselves been fined in the past, have responsible gambling policies that allow bettors to voluntarily ban themselves from accessing the online casino. However, complaints have been filed that gambling operators continue to target players who are on the self-exclusion list and entice them with bonus offers to come back and keep playing.
In July 2019, the Gambling Commission dropped one of its largest fines to date, slapping a £5.9 million on Ladbrokes Coral for failing to protect problem gamblers between 2014 and 2017. With the increase in gambling complaints, the UKGC will have to do more to ensure that British bettors are better protected and operators strive for better compliance.