By Mitch Rice
fresh approach to protecting players from the habit. In the past few years, the Gambling Commission has passed many new laws to combat gambling addiction, the most recent one being removing addictive features in slot machines. Now, the institution is looking to crack down on betting operators and their contributions to the issue. The Kindred Group is the first operator to open its books and reveal how much of its revenue is from players that are most likely gambling addicts.
Kindred is one of the five largest gambling operators globally, and it has nine successful brands under its umbrella, including Unibet and 32Red. According to the group’s books, Kindred generated 4% of its revenue from customers showcasing gambling addiction signs. While this may sound like a small figure, Kindred reported annual revenue of about £1.13 billion in 2020. Therefore, they took about £45 million from high-risk gamblers. The company also stated its plans to reduce this rate to zero by 2023 but argued that restricting or banning bookmarkers from sports sponsorship will be a counteractive measure.
The UK Gambling Commission’s decision to apply more restrictions around sports sponsorships comes amid concerns that it helps to normalize gambling. Currently, 75% of football teams in the Premier League have betting sponsors or partners. This figure rises to 87% during the Champions League. The exposure to such brands during games leads viewers to adopt the habit and makes gambling addicts more reckless than they already are. It is estimated that 0.7 to 2.7% of UK residents are pathological gamblers, and more than half this percentage are at high risk of falling risk to the same issue. Also, 7% of citizens are affected by their association with a gambling addict.
While gambling operators do not deny that there is an awful lot of advertising in football, they argue that banning sports advertisements is a negative step for both the companies and football clubs. With most Premier and Championship League teams depending on such partnerships for finances, it would leave them with a tough time and impact various issues. The firms argued that if the commission looks at the Premier League, it should consider that most of the brands advertising using the teams have no interest in the UK market.
Several gambling operators have come out to say that their clubs advertise according to the set regulations. For instance, Sky Bet stated that its Premier League and EFL sponsorships are conducted responsibly, and restricting them will not help solve the problem gambling.
However, the Gambling Commission has argued that the approach it is using is open and evidence-based. The body’s request for gambling operators to show their books is to look at the evidence to consider the best option and consult them on specific measures. Therefore, they asked the companies to stop jumping to conclusions about where they are headed because findings have yet to be reached. Nonetheless, they stated that the government is not backing down on its review of the 2005 Gambling Act, and the deadline for evidence provision is set for this month.
Many gambling researchers have applauded the Gambling Commission’s move to get a grip on sports advertisements. Dan Waugh, a gambling regulation specialist at Regulus Partners, spoke up about Kindred’s seemingly applaudable move to reveal its books. He warned that while the gambling operator’s figures were admirable, the criteria used to judge the percentage of high-risk gamblers were unclear. Often, there is a mismatch between how these companies determine problematic gambling patterns and how researchers and clinicians do. Dan predicts that there will be many researchers diving into Kindred’s offer to open its books to see whether their calculations are valid.
Gambling Addiction in the UK
Problem gambling is by far the most significant downside of the casino industry’s surgency in the United Kingdom. While gambling is a fun activity, for the most part, addiction turns it into a raging compulsion that limits gamblers from enjoying it. Numerous reasons promote pathological gambling, one of them being the person’s environment. If one is constantly surrounded by people that gamble a lot or material that enables the behaviour, they are likely to fall victim. The UKGC uses this argument to put restrictions in place to limit the public’s exposure to such activities. Other contributing factors include family history and genetics, mental disorders, personality traits, age, and gender.
Gambling addiction manifests in numerous ways. Common symptoms include; lying about the behaviour, inability to focus on daily activities without thoughts of gambling, spending beyond what can be lost comfortably, and borrowing or stealing money to keep up the habit. The habit also has significant effects on the individual and people around them, such as depression, drug and alcohol addiction, financial woes, crime, homelessness, and suicide. Even with such adverse consequences, it is possible to combat the issue by;
- Accepting its existence
The first step to gambling addiction recovery is admitting that the problem exists. Denying that you are a pathological gambler blinds people from seeing the effects it has on their lives. Avoid making justifications for indulging in the habit through glorification, comparisons, minimization, and misinformation. No matter the discomfort that comes with admitting to gambling addiction, it is a significant step towards dealing with the issue.
- Get ready to change
Prepare yourself for the journey ahead by understanding the changes that are going to come. Admitting to the problem only to move your usual daily motions will likely lead to a relapse. Start by deleting online casino accounts, uninstalling gambling apps, and distancing yourself from social relationships that encourage such behaviour.
- Find new hobbies
Rekindle any interests that gambling addiction made you lose touch with and dedicate your energy to them. New hobbies will offer new ways to excite your brain without depending on the constant stimulation of compulsive gambling.
The UK gambling laws’ review by the Gambling Commission continues to spark a heated debate between opponents and proponents. Anti-gambling enthusiasts are also pushing for the institution to limit the amount one can use in a gambling session.