Problem Gambling Down in the UK, Others to Follow?

UK sets bar for responsible live & online betting as problem gambling rate falls.

UK Sets Bar for Responsible Live & Online Betting as Addiction Rate FallsFor the last five years, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), the authority responsible for regulating all gaming related activities across England, Scotland and Wales, has been setting a strict standard for other reputable jurisdictions to follow. The UKGC’s ultimate goal is to protect customers, prevent fraud, and provide a safe, harmless environment for residents who enjoy gambling entertainment, both online and on land.

The latest reports from the Commission show that their ongoing mission has been a successful one thus far. According to a recent poll, the rate of gambling addiction has fallen in the last year. While it’s not what anyone would call a landslide, any reduction in harmful behavior is a good sign for the future, and one that UKGC’s extensive efforts are making a difference.

Problem Gambling Rate Down Compared to 2017

The UKGC says, “gambling behaviour is increasingly a subject of public health and policy interest.” As such, the regulator conducts quarterly polls via the internet and telephone surveys, and collects data on problem gambling from health organizations across the region. The data gives the UKGC insight about consumers, and “the method and frequency with which they gamble.” It also creates a baseline to judge developments in future gambling related statistics.

According to the latest published results, current as of December 2018, problem gambling is on the decline in the UK compared to a 2016 Combined Health Survey. The compared reports indicate a reduction in problem gambling of 0.7% in 2016 to 0.5% in 2018.

That’s the good news… The bad news relates to two less severe levels of compulsive behavior, categorized by the Problem Gambling Severity Index as low-risk and moderate-risk behavior.

Low-risk behavior, explicated by the UKGC as “those who experience a low level of problems with few or no identified negative consequences”, rose from 2.4% to 3.3%. Similarly, moderate-risk behavior (“those who experience a moderate level of problems leading to some negative consequences”), increased from 1.1% to 1.5%.

Fortunately, low and moderate levels are historically easier to recognize and treat, before the symptoms and situation get so out of hand as to be classified as a genuine “problem” for the individual, their friends, family, etc.

UK Sets Bar for Responsible Live & Online Betting

The reduction in problem gambling is something the UKGC hopes will become a trend-setter throughout the global gaming industry. The UK has been the jurisdiction-to-mimic in online division, in particular, ever since the Commission inducted new licensing restrictions in late 2014. While most jurisdictions don’t follow the UK to the letter, most have incorporated at least a few aspects of the UK’s superlative standards in operator accountability and responsibility.

There are two top-tier priorities for all respectable gambling jurisdictions; to protect consumers, and to generate much-needed revenue. In these departments, the UK leads the globe virtually uncontested. Thus, following the latest report, we can expect to see even more regions where live and online betting are a serious source of government revenue to mirror Great Britain’s indubitably successfully regulatory schematics.

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