Problem gambling is one of the most discussed topics regarding gambling in the past several year. A lot has been done, both by the UKGC, but also by other organisations, as well as the operators. The Commission expects operators to cooperate on this front and take all possible measures to ensure that people who have a problem or might develop a problem are protected.
In the summer of 2019, the issue was discussed at BBC’s Panorama, so problem gambling once again entered the centre of public attention. Last autumn, the UK Gambling Commission published regular statistics and numbers regarding gambling in the UK and these figures show that about 1% have a gambling problem.
Operators pledged to work with authorities in five areas last autumn, including funding a campaign worth £10 million. This time, members of the Betting and Gaming Council agreed to invest a total of £100 million to help and protect problem gamblers.
Additional funds will be donated to other charities
The five operators in question are Sky, Paddy Power Betfair owned by Flutter Entertainment, William Hill, bet365 and GVC Holdings. If you know a few things about the UK gambling scene, you are surely aware that these are the largest five operators and are always involved in the processes.
The operators have agreed to provide these funds and put them in the GambleAware charity. The charity will ensure that people who seek counselling and treatment will be helped. The group will also provide funds to the BetRegret campaign. BetRegret aims to secure safer gambling advertising.
The CEO Of the BGC said that the operators are determined to improve how problem gamblers are treated. He also said that this is testament to the industry’s dedication to tackle problem gambling.
It was also announced that the five operators mentioned above will give all funds that they earned from the Royal Ascot race to charities that support Covid-19 and cancer patients, including Prostate Cancer UK, the coronavirus fund of the Berkshire Community Foundation and many more. The virtual Grand National race, in the absence of a standard Grand National, also allowed operators to raise funds for charity. Namely, BGC members donated all their profits, in amount of £2.6 million.
Betting shops in England are reopening today.
FOBTs decrease results in a decrease of violent incidents
FOBTs are another topic that’s often discussed in relation to problem gambling. FOBTs have been labelled as the most addictive and most problematic form of high-street gambling. As you may know, last year the government decreased the maximum amount that players can wager on a FOBT to £2, from the previous limit that stood at £100. A lot of operators stated that their revenues will be significantly decreased as a result of this and many were forced to close a number of shops.
One of the results of the decrease in the maximum amount that players can wager on a FOBT is that there are significantly fewer violent incidents. There were 38% less police callouts. In 2019 the police was called 1,803, whereas in 2018 the number of calls was 2,907. You should bear in mind that the decrease was implemented in April.