On Thursday, the UK government announced the changes in the gambling industry in the country. The changes in the £14 billion ($17 billion) worth industry with a growing problem of addiction to smartphones in recent few years.
The increased popularity of gambling:
After the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies that provide online betting and gambling services noticed an increase in profit and the number of active players. Some of the companies with the biggest increase are Ladbrokes and Coral brands, as well as Flutter Entertainment, which owns famous brands Paddy Power and Betfair.
The concern has been raised for a few recent years, but a long time has passed before the white paper is published. The main reason behind its publication is the necessity of banning various gambling companies’ ads since their impact on society grew, and the number of suicides among gambling addicts increased due to the companies’ allowance of their huge debts.
As a consequence of that, even English Premier League football clubs withdrew from collaboration with gambling companies and decided to remove the logos of the companies from the players’ shirts for the following three seasons.
Smartphones and apps were a potent tool when it came to drawing more players to the gambling apps and allowed players to easily spend money on gambling and casino games. TV ads also increased the popularity of gambling by promoting minute-by-minute odds.
Among the measures that will be taken is limiting the online stakes between £2 and £15. Additionally, the companies will get the right to take down the illegal betting websites whose number increased recently and to deal with many unauthorized operators. When it comes to the bonus offers, many restrictions will be introduced, and players under 25 will be more protected than before.
The companies allowed the players to accumulate their debts and decided to overlook the problem gambling issues, which led to further increasing the problem.
Lucy Frazer, the Culture Secretary, said: “When gambling becomes an addiction, it can wreck lives. Shattered families, lost jobs, foreclosed homes, jail time, suicide.”
After new changes are approved, the companies will have to invest more money into research and education for problem gambling and addiction, as well as into treatments that will help the players. Various background checks will have to be conducted in order to protect the customers.
Online slot games will be under the limit, so they match the land-based slot machines. However, the companies won’t be all alone during the process. The Gambling Commission will provide the companies with various resources to help them fight the issue.
Is the process delayed:
Despite the companies’ approval of the white paper, activists think that the government deliberately delayed the process.
Louise Davies, charity Christian Action Research and Education representative, said: “With further delay, families of the bereaved and people locked in the teeth of addiction have been snubbed yet again. There is no need for further consultation on measures that are broadly supported, such as a statutory levy and affordability checks. We need legislation.”