UK Government Worried About Problem Gambling

The UK gambling commission has recently released some very interesting figures that clearly demonstrate that remote gambling on computers, laptops and mobile devices has increased in the UK. Although the commission reported an increase of just 0.1% in the number of lottery and online bingo players the number of people gambling on web ready phones increased by 4.5 million. The UK gambling commission says that as the number of mobile players increases the number of problem gamblers is sure to increase.

In a poll taken by the gambling commission 12% said that between September 2010 and June 2011 they had taken part in some form of egaming. 505 of the poll’s respondents said that the national lottery was their preferred form of gambling. A significant number indicated that they had played online bingo during the same period. The report pointed out a slight decrease in attendance at land based bingo games and credited the expansion of internet bingo for the decline. PCs, tablets, laptops, netbooks and smartphones were responsible for the rise in egaming and about 11% of the poll’s respondents said they had engaged in remote gaming. An additional 3.2% said they had used their smart phones to gamble online and gambling via an interactive TV set accounted for about 1.4% of all of those surveyed.

According to the gambling statistics slightly over half, 56.7%, had taken part in some form of gambling during the month leading up to the poll. This year’s findings are in contrast with figures from surveys taken in 2009 and 2010. In 2009 55.2% admitted gambling during the month before the annual survey and in 2010 the figure was 55.5%. John Penrose, The UK Minister of Tourism and Heritage has proposed changes in UK gambling laws. Penrose has suggested that all gaming operators including those licensed offshore be required to obtain a UK gaming license to process wagers from the British Isles. Penrose hopes that these measures will protect vulnerable players in the United Kingdom.

Penrose told reporters “The current system for regulating remote gambling doesn’t work.  Overseas operators get an unfair advantage over UK based companies, and British consumers who gamble online may have little or no protection depending on where the operator they deal with happens to be based. So our new proposals are an important step to help address concerns about problem gambling and to plug a regulatory gap, ensuring a much more consistent and higher level of protection for those people in the UK who gamble online. We will create a level playing field, so all overseas operators will be subject to the same standards and requirements as those based in Britain, as well as being required to inform the Gambling Commission about suspicious betting patterns to help fight illegal activity and corruption in betting.”