BBC Panorama Covers Problem Gambling

Viktor Vangelov | Published 14 Aug 2019, 11:20 a.m.

The problem gambling awareness in the UK as at a much higher rate compared to several years. Stakeholders, as well as the general public are aware that there are people in the UK who have a gambling problem and several initiatives have been launched to deal with this issue. Some of the initiatives have been planned and implemented by the UK Gambling Commission alone, whereas other initiatives saw the Commission joining forces with charities and other organisations that work on related issues.

We’ve reported on this on more than one occasion. For example, earlier this month top UK operators announced their decision to launch a new committee with the aim to publish recommendations on how to promote responsible gambling more effectively. In its attempts to deal with the problem more effectively, the UKGC often resorted to issuing hefty fines. At the end of July it was announced that Ladbrokes Coral were fined by the UKGC and the total amount that the operator had to pay was just £100K short of £6 million.

The raised awareness results in more complaints. Players can recognise when the operators are breaching industry standards and they don’t need to think twice to file a complaint against the operator in question. BBC Panorama did one episode on this issue. It was aired yesterday (12th August 2019) and in the follow-up will go through some of the issues that were discussed in the broadcast.

The Number Of Complaints Up By 5,000% In 5 Years

The number of complains in 2013 was 169, compared to a staggering amount of 8,266 complaints in 2018. The figures were provided by the UKGC so there’s no doubt regarding accuracy. UKGC representatives feel that this is a good thing for the industry as a whole.

Large operators in the UK have already pledged to contribute a lot more to responsible gambling. Namely, according to the previous voluntary scheme operators were required to donate 0.1% of their gross profits, but now they’ve agreed to increase that to 1%.

The CEO of the UKGC stated that players are nowadays expecting more from the operators, adding that this is a good thing and that the Commission will keep on encouraging them to continue with that.

There have been some mixed reactions in the public after the Labour Government relaxed some of the restrictions that apply to online gambling in 2007. Punters lose more money on a yearly basis compared to a decade ago.

One Player Lost Over £600,000

Panorama also depicted one specific case of a player who lost £633,000 and went bankrupt. The player who refused to reveal her real identity said to the BBC that she felt like she was living in a Bubble world and that betting served as an escape door from her mundane everyday life.

The woman who was referred to as Amanda in the programme said that she lost everything, including her children’s inheritance. A representative of the casino where Amanda was registered stated that they did everything on their part and informed the player of the responsible gambling tools that are at her disposal.

Responsible gambling campaigners feel that the government still needs to do more to provide protection for the most vulnerable categories, and they have generally supported the decision to decrease the maximum limit that players are allowed to wager on a FOBT.

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