UKGC Publishes National Problem Gambling Strategy

Viktor Vangelov | Published 3 May 2019, 11:39 a.m.

Last week the UK Gambling Commission published its three-year detailed strategy on how to tackle problem gambling. One of the pledges made by the Commission in the document is that they will manage to reduce gambling-induced harms much faster with this new strategy.

The key focus points of this strategy will be treatment and education, but also prevention of problem gambling. Considering the Commission's efforts and actions so far, that’s not surprising at all, problem gambling has been in the public spotlight in the UK for quite a while now. Several senior politicians have spoken publicly on the matter and it is not surprising that the UKGC has also taken actions to ensure that the issue will be dealt with in an appropriate way. The year began with the Government pledging to tackle problem gambling. Even stronger words came from the deputy leader of the opposition.

In February, the UKGC introduced new rules aimed at improving fairness and safety. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has also been pretty active and last month a series of adverts that were accessible by children were banned. We can expect even stricter controls when it comes to problem gambling, especially when it comes to child protection.

GVC And William Hill Will No Longer Appear On Football Shirts

Betting and gambling operators are aware that the rules will be getting stricter, so two industry giants didn’t even wait for the Commission to announce its new strategy, they already changed the way they advertise their products and services. GVC and William Hill have announced that their names and logos will no longer appear on football shirts. Additionally, GVC will not be doing any perimeter adverts anymore. GVC is one of the largest operators in the UK, the company owns Gala Coral and Ladbrokes, two of the largest betting brands.

However, GVC will keep on advertising on TV during horseracing events as this activity is seen as vital to the profitability of their betting branch. Is expected for the Government to put more pressure on operators to take actions that tackle problem gambling.

Recently, both Paddy Power and Betfair stopped offering their new game similar to Roulette following the warning from the Commission. Many companies are seeing a decline in profits after the maximum wagering amount on FOBTs (fixed-odds betting terminals) was slashed to £2 from a previous limit of £100.

In 2018, William Hill was fined £6.2 million for failing to enforce regulations that would ensure the prevention of money-laundering.

NHS: Problem Gambling Could Link To Stress And Depression

It is estimated that over 400,000 in the country have a gambling problem. An NHS report highlights the link between problem gambling, stress, depression and other health issues. The NHS, as well as charities who deal with the matter contributed to the UKGC strategy. Marc Etches, current leader of Gamble Aware said that up to two million people experience some sort of gambling related problems and that in some cases the problems are quite severe.

Mims Davies, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said that player protection should be one of the key priorities of every gambling company, adding that addiction can ruin lives. The chairman of the UKGC also agreed that all concerned parties should work together towards a better understand of gambling-related harms.