The state of gambling and betting in the UK is currently going through a flux period as top gambling and betting firms scramble to find ways to avoid looming government intervention. As more and more gamblers and sports bettors in the UK struggle with gambling addiction and other related illnesses, government has vowed to crack down on the greater gambling and betting industry.
Recently, the Guardian revealed that the government has been considering new tougher regulations aimed at curtailing online casino gaming to the tune of an estimated £2 billion. The news brought about a strong reaction from shareholders, leading to a dramatic loss of an estimated £1.2 billion in share value.
The UK gambling industry reacted to the recent events by coming up with a counter solution, aimed at not only appeasing pending government action, but also moving the gambling industry forward in a more positive light.
In a recent meeting attended by no less than ten of the top executives from the UK’s leading online gambling and betting brands including William Hill, Ladbrokes and Coral owner GVC, Bet365 and Paddy Power, all agreed to voluntary measures that would, hopefully, be enough to avoid governmental regulations.
The ten leading online sports betting and casino gambling firms have all agreed to five pledges for safer gambling and betting. These pledges are essentially each firm’s commitment to a safer and more responsible gambling environment, but what exactly are these five pledges?
For many, the pledges are a long time in the making, as the industry has faced years of criticism from a wide variety of sectors including politicians and health professionals. The criticisms have largely focused on the industry’s general failure to take risk factors associated with gambling seriously.
Essentially, the five pledges that the major gambling and betting firms in the UK have committed themselves to are as follows:
All five pledges have been equally devised by the main gambling and betting firms, under the supervision and facilitation of the Senet Group. This is a body that has been funded by the industry to provide cooperation with the UK Gambling Commission in an effort to, as they put it, “raise standards within the sector”. In addition, the joint effort seeks to visibly increase safety and fairness for players.
That said, the previous attempts at doing just that by the group were met with a fair amount of criticism, most notably from the University of Warwick. The university noted that the industry’s catchphrase slogan for responsible gambling: “when the fun stops, stop” had not shown any noticeable effects on decreasing problems related to gambling. In response, a spokesperson for the Senet Group said that they were in the process of rethinking their responsible gambling campaign.
It is worth noting at this stage that responses from top executives representing all of the major betting and gambling firms have been positive. Chief executive of Flutter Entertainment (owner of Paddy Power and Betfair), Peter Jackson noted: “These commitments are an important step forward for the sector in their own right and also signal a genuine desire to ensure that acting responsibly is at the heart of our businesses.”
The group has also announced a massive national program which will stretch out over the next four years and involves both the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust and GamCare, powered by an industry grant of more than £10 million. In addition, a variety of codes of conduct pertaining to the marketing of online gambling are in the works, which includes participation from major industry movers and shakers such as Genting, Rank Group, Playtech, Sky Betting and Gaming, Aspers and others.