Investment Into Responsible Gambling Politics

Gambling behaviour has increasingly garnered traction in the UK’s public health and policy discourse. This is not far fetched as there have been increased gambling problems linked due to the explosive nature of options in the gambling industry. 

The phenomenon is not only a personal but a societal issue as it has been established to have a causal link to addiction, cheating, organised crime. To this end, several measures have been put in place by bodies spearheaded by the gambling commission.

UK Gambling Commission Investment into GamStop

As part of its commitment to encourage a safer gaming culture and to raise standards among gamers in the UK gambling industry, the UK gambling commission (The commission) launched GAMSTOP, a self-exclusion scheme in 2018. The scheme, developed by the Remote Gambling Association(RGA), was designed upon request of the commission.

As a regulatory requirement to obtain a licence from the gambling commission, all online slots, sports betting sites, casinos must participate in the Gamstop in order to operate in the UK, after March 31, 2020.

The commission enforces compliance and raises funds from the scheme by imposing fines on online operators which flouts directives of the commission to participate in the scheme.

Having been subject to criticism due to the security breach by which online operators were able to avoid GamStop exclusion and send marketing messages to gamers, the scheme has experienced great improvement to correct these anomalies.

The scheme which has over an estimated 118,000 registered persons, enables gamers to self-exclude themselves for a specified period (i.e, 6 months, 1 year, or 5 years) depending on the choice. Upon registration, the gamer would be unable to access all operators participating in the scheme.

GameSys Investment into GambleAware

A body dedicated to fighting the scourge associated with problem gambling is GambleAware. It demonstrates best practice, separately or in a concerted effort with expert organisations and agencies to offer education/awareness, treatment, information directed towards eliminating harm of gambling.

GambleAware is an independent body in the gambling industry and lives on legal protection to carry out services and research its commissions. Thus, it depends on contributions from organisations within and outside the gambling industry. The contribution is largely due to the gambling commission making it a regulatory requirement for gambling operators to contribute 0.1% of their profit towards the course of research, education and treatment of gamers; GambleAware being the only eligible recipient on those courses.

In addition to a contribution from the profit of gambling operators, the donation is made by the said operators from unclaimed winnings, dormant accounts, etc.

Upon publication of its industry donation figures for 1 April – 30 September 2020, it was revealed that of a total contribution of £2,286,000 received by GambleAware, GameSys made the largest contribution in the sum of £450,000. There were other contributors with Betway and 888 holdings making the second and third highest contribution in the sum of £134,000 and 50,000 respectively.

The funds received from all the said organizations are the operating cost utilized by GambleAware to promote its objectives, which is the prevention and treatment of gambling harm faced by gamers. It adopts three approaches in its prevention and reduction of gambling harm as follows:

  1. Primary/ Universal – directed towards the whole population to engineer a safer environment
  2. Secondary/Selective – directed towards groups with the prevailing occurrence of gambling harms
  3. Tertiary/Indicated – directed towards individuals affected by gambling disorder

GambleAware Investment into GamCare

Another company which provides advice and support to gamers affected by gaming problems in the UK is Gamcare. By a Grant Agreement between GambleAware and GamCare beginning in 2018 and to expire 2021, both organisations have delivered services in the form of education and treatment of problem gambling such tack addiction and to improve the quality of life of gamers and their families.

Under the said agreement between both organisations, GambleAware has invested and set to fork out an additional tranche of funds, over three years, rising up to £3.9m to GamCare, among other bodies. The money is to be utilized in the following manner:

  • Enable the National Gambling Helpline to provide advice and brief interventions to more people
  • Enable people to have access to computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy where this is clinically appropriate
  • Develop peer support so that people who are recovering from gambling addiction can help others to access treatment and aftercare
  • Expand provision of face-to-face treatment services in England, Scotland and Wales.