UK Government To Tackle Problem Gambling

Viktor Vangelov | Published 11 Jan 2019, 1:55 p.m.

While online gambling and gambling in general is legal in the UK and the market is entirely liberalised, authorities and operators should take all measures to ensure that responsible gambling is promoted, and that problem gambling is tackled in the best and most effective possible way.

Measures are enforced and the UKGC has been tightening its regulations and demanding more from operators when it comes to responsible gambling. Most operators cooperate with the Commission and adhere to the latest industry standard, and those that don’t learn it the hard way, after they receive hefty fines. This year alone, more than few operators have been penalised by the UKGC, with some of the fines exceeding £1 million.

New Gambling Addiction Clinic To Open In The North

The UK Government announced that it intends to increase funding for the problem gambling programme, within their ten-year strategy for the National Health Service. £2.3 billion annually will used to treat mental health issues by 2023. The Department of Health released a statement claiming that further investment into primary care, as well as community and mental health care will increase over the years in the upcoming period.

Health bodies will work closely with local authorities in an attempt to provide better care, fit for the 21st century. Currently, the NHS operates just one gambling addiction centre, but that’s about to change soon and a new clinic will open in the North in addition to the existing one located in Fulham, London. The new clinic will be opened in April this year, and it will be operated by jointly by Leeds and York in cooperation with GamCare. GambleAware also invested in the new clinic.

A Challenging Year Ahead

This decision reflects the Government’s determination to tackle problem gambling. Earlier this year, a decision was reached to decrease the maximum stake on FOBTs from £100 to just £2. Unlike land-based casinos where no option for problem gamblers is provided, online casino operators give players the option to self-exclude themselves either for a limited amount of time or indefinitely.

Experts claim that while responsible gambling mechanisms might pose a financial burden on UK gambling operators, there’s still room for growth in 2019, with some believing that stricter responsible gambling provisions would be beneficial for the industry as a whole. The UK market is large and diverse and, what’s most important, it remains fully regulated, which means that both players and operators will be protected.

Denmark To Impose Stricter Controls Too

The UK isn’t the only country where authorities propose stricter responsible gambling controls. The Danish Government has also proposed stricter controls. There will be a number of new requirements that operators will have to adhere to, including deposit limits. Sites will also have to provide information on problem gambling support and display them prominently, something which has already been implemented in the UK.

All terms and conditions regarding ongoing promotions will have to be displayed clearly and players have to be awarded their bonuses as soon as they meet the set conditions. Also, casinos won’t be able to ask players to deposit more than 1,000 kroner (£120) to claim a promotion. Casinos can set wagering requirements but the requirement can’t exceed ten times the player’s stake. Moreover, each player will have to set their own daily, weekly and monthly deposit limits before they can start playing.

Companies will need to train all their staff to deal with problem gambling and problem gamblers and they will have to closely monitor each player and their behaviour. The Danish market is becoming pretty active and interesting for gambling operators, so obviously the Government wants to ensure that players are fully protected.

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