The gambling sector in the UK has recently come under scrutiny due to various reasons. Just recently, an influential group of MPs has called on the government to review the gambling legislation in the UK. In addition, they have also proposed various measures aimed at introducing strict measures in the gambling sector. They also talked about the importance of safe casino sites. The parliamentary group has come up with some suggestions like banning online and TV gambling adverts that will help in regulating the sector. Some of the main reasons for banning these adverts include protecting the interests of the consumers, raising the overall standards regarding gambling, preventing harm to the public and consumers, and also optimizing returns to a good cause.
Reasons for MPs Urgent Reform in the Gambling Industry
It is easy to understand why MPs are pushing for urgent reforms in the gambling sector. According to The Guardian, there are horror stories reported each day involving gambling. This is a result of the betting industry always encouraging excessive spending among the vulnerable; hence most of them end up using their hard-earned cash or lifetime savings on gambling. In the end, many of them have found themselves with nothing left of them due to losing most of their bets, which has led to devastating results that include depression or even suicide in some cases. The betting industry has also constantly ignored protecting its customers by failing to adequately tackle issues like money laundering. Research also suggests that there are currently approximately half a million gamblers that have had their lives destroyed at some point as a result of gambling.
It has also been reported that out of a million problem gamblers in the UK, 55, 000 are children. This has called for most of the online games to be reviewed due to their risk of causing addiction and harm to the minors before being approved. It is also believed that the gambling industry tends to spend approximately £1.50 billion each year on advertising alone. Also, 60% of its overall profits are from the 5% who are considered to be problem gamblers or those who are at a higher risk of ending up so. The emergence of smartphones and laws that have liberalized gambling has also contributed to an increase in addictive gambling in recent years.
Changes of the UK Gambling Sector in 2019-2020
The recent changes in the UK gambling sector have come as a relief to many people who have been negatively affected or seen their loved ones affected as a result of irresponsible gambling. The following are some of the changes the industry is likely to undergo:
- Ending Gambling Adverts – This recommendation has come up as a result of the societal harms experienced in the UK as a result of the expansion of the gambling industry over recent years. This ban aims at ending player reward programs that tend to entice gamblers to bet more than they can handle. This move also looks to limit online slot machines to a maximum of £2.00 bet and also encourage gaming and betting companies to carry out financial assessments on all their customers.
- End to VIP Schemes – Most of the betting and gaming companies have VIP schemes that tend to target problem gamblers. Once a player’s level of gambling increases, they are given VIP status. The VIP status comes with a few benefits that ensure you keep on betting to maintain your status. This has, in turn, led to addiction and huge losses amongst. Putting an end to such schemes will help in preventing problem gambling and addiction among gamblers.
- Reduced Rate of Gambling Due to COVID-19 – Due to the closure of gambling venues in March 2020, most activities that usually generate approximately 50% of the overall gambling market were stopped. This led to many gamblers seeking for other ways of making money.
- New Ombudsman – Most gamblers usually do not have anyone to turn to in case they get into a dispute with a betting gaming firm. Therefore, the introduction of a new gambling ombudsman will come, as a relief in case players get into a dispute with any betting firm as this will help in addressing any disputes that might arise between the two parties.
What to Expect for the Future?
These proposed changes are set to change the future of the gambling sector in the UK. Current and future gamblers can rest assured that they will be protected in any way possible from being exploited by the gambling firms. This will also lead to an overall change in how gambling will be done. There are already suggested changes regarding online slot machines that include banning split-screen games, putting limits on stakes and prize amounts, introducing slower spins to reduce game speed, and classifying games based on addictive qualities among other suggestions on how these games are played in the future. UK residents have also not been left out as they can also have a say regarding the proposed changes by being encouraged to suggest ideas that can be used to redesign online slots via an online form.
An Opportunity for the Gambling Industry to Redeem Itself
In the past, the gambling industry has shown that it is capable of adapting to any changes. The current proposed changes will allow the industry to show people that it could still exist without negatively impacting society. As much as the regulations may seem to have short-term negative impacts on the industry, it also gives it a chance to re-evaluate itself and clean up its image.