According to the latest review into online gambling, the Gambling Commission found that Britain’s online gambling industry is one of the largest in the world, making a staggering £4.7 billion per annum. This is only predicted to increase in subsequent years, and whilst such large quantities of money should be greatly benefitting the overall productivity of the country, these results are also an insight into how severe the UK’s gambling problem has become – the Gambling Commission finding a dangerous lack of restrictions and regulations on speed of play, prizes and online stakes.
The significant lack of rules and regulations controlling the UK’s online gambling community has led to vulnerable, at-risk customers falling victim to problem gambling, and further losing extensive and unmanageable amounts of money from their accounts. This increase in gambling, and the lack of increase in regulated restrictions for operators providing table games and online casinos bonuses, has resulted in worsening the situation of problem gamblers in the country.
The government have assured that there are constant reviews and regulations put in place for online gambling, with new rules coming into place to moderate those under the legal age from slipping through to these casino websites. However, age is not the only factor contributing to this increasing problem gambling epidemic. This has kick-started a debate on how more measures must be put in place to properly safeguard the gambling community from falling victim to such issues as addiction, debt and other potentials that can come from unhealthy levels of gambling.
Labour MP Tom Watson will make a public speech in London this Thursday for the Institute for Public Policy Research, bringing attention to various real-life cases of the damage that can be done through online gambling, and urging for more attention on this progressively worsening issue. Mr Watson claims that although “gambling in the offline world is highly regulated, the lack of controls on online gambling is leading to vulnerable consumers suffering huge losses” and further urges for those who have fallen victim to problem gambling to be treated “as a public health emergency”.
The Labour Party have announced that if in power, the government would significantly restrict the lengths to which those who gamble online can go to, imposing limits on the amount that can be spent and the speed of play. In addition to this, the Labour party also have plans to form an additional category into the current 2005 legislation of the Gambling Act, focused and tailored more so to the country’s current problem area - online gambling.