Should operators pay more attention to problem gambling in the UK?

For many people in the UK, gambling plays a major part in their lives. While some do it for fun and make some money off the back of a bet, others find themselves in a dark hole, suffering from addictions. The government has been making changes to legislation for a while now in order to tackle problem gambling in the UK but the hard work isn’t over yet.

More recently, a debate surrounding football shirt sponsorship has caused concerns for those operating in this industry. Below, we look at problem gambling in the UK and what operators can do to tackle this head-on.

Review of betting laws in sports

The UK government has been working on a review of the Gambling Act since last year and some changes have already been made. You might have heard about the change that was made to the National Lottery minimum age as a result of this review.

More recently, the UK government has been considering whether it should ban gambling sponsorship as part of the review. This change has been contested by influential people in football such as English Football League Chairman Rick Parry. The Chairman claimed that this ruling would cause some clubs to “go under”.  Additionally, he claimed that there could be £40m a year in lost revenue – something that football might not recover from considering the losses suffered as a result of the pandemic.

The motive behind this ban stems from a larger issue with sports betting and addictions. With football players wearing the logos of well-known betting operators, fans can feel encouraged to place a bet. While there is no evidence that a ban would significantly reduce problem gambling in the UK, operators should take note.

New initiatives set out

There are several charities and organisations in the UK that have been campaigning for safer gambling practices over recent years. This includes BeGambleAware, a brand that many operators in the UK gambling industry will be familiar with.

These charities highlight important issues in the industry and their findings should be something that operators take note of. A UK based charity known as Gambling with Lives has been starting initiatives to support those who are harmed by gambling. Their treatment and support system aims to improve the lives of anyone affected by gambling.

Speaking on this issue, Professor Henrietta Bowden-Jones OBE, Founder and Director of the National Problem Gambling Clinic in London noted: “I see the serious harms caused to people by gambling disorder every day at my clinic. An addiction to gambling can affect anyone and can pose a risk to life.  It is essential that evidence-based services are led by the NHS to ensure quality clinical standards.  I welcome this Gambling with Lives project and the work of people harmed by gambling in helping us to ensure that services are integrated with existing NHS pathways and really meet the needs of our population.”

How can operators do more?

The evidence suggests that even with numbers on the decline, problem gambling is still a major issue in the UK, despite initiatives in place from both charities and the government to tackle this. Operators in the gambling industry should be taking responsibility for players and offering support where it is needed. If everyone works together, the gambling industry can be a safe place for players and a profitable one for operators.

We believe that our Player Vulnerability Monitoring solution can be extremely effective in spotting those with gambling issues and acting fast. By using innovative Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology, gambling operators can quickly and accurately identify problem gamblers to allow customer support agents to react immediately. With a seamless integration into your CRM and live chat function, our monitoring tool demonstrates that you take the protection of your players seriously.

If you’d like to find out more about our Player Vulnerability Monitoring solution, get in touch.

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