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UK Parliament urged to Update gambling policies

Written by:
Payton
Published on:
Feb/24/2020

If you ask some people, the 2005 Gambling Act was a lifesaver, a breath of fresh air of sorts. A summary of the main points of the act would be to prevent gambling from being a source of disorder and crime, as well as being associated with them or being used to support them. The act was also supposed to ensure that gambling is conducted in a “fair and open way”, and to protect children and other vulnerable people from being exploited from gambling.

 

Though the intentions and goals are right, they’re painted with a broad brush, and the reality is that times have changed since then, and they have changed a lot. What was applicable and made sense at that time may not be so relevant and applicable in this day and age, especially when so much has changed about the gambling community and industry in general. Today, an extremely large amount of all gambling around the world is done online, which wasn’t the case back in 2005.

Cause for Concerns

With the vastly increased availability and traffic towards gambling-mainly due to the prevalence of online gambling-a change is needed, and it’s needed fast. Social communities, charities, and non-profit organizations have been calling for a change for some time now, but now even government representatives and politicians are speaking up. One such politician is Carolyn Harriss, a British Labour party representative that was elected in 2015.

 

Last month, Harriss made some harsh criticisms towards the igaming companies, accusing them of unethical conduct of business. She also heavily criticized FA (The English Football Association), stating that their deal with online gambling websites is unethical.

 

The deal basically means that gambling companies are allowed to stream the football games in case a player makes a deposit on their website. Obviously, the main cause of outrage from public and government officials is the fact that this would send a lot of people gambling companies’ way, people that otherwise would have just paid to watch the game itself, without having to do anything with gambling. Casinos have always notoriously been known to try and entice players into joining their platforms with special promotional arrangements. Let’s take the Svenbet online casino for example. Upon registration, you’re immediately given access to a large matching bonus of up to £12,000 max.  If you deposited the theoretical allowed maximum of 10k, you’d be starting off with 22k in total, which, although it is easier said than done, is quite an attractive offer. To encourage continuous gaming, Svenbet also provides a 60% refill bonus for each and every new redeposit, with the maximum amount of around 3,500NOK (Around $380 as of this writing). Attractive and generous as these kinds of deals are, they usually have a large amount of required playthrough and wagering requirements, so it’s up to the players themselves to calculate if it makes sense to indulge, which the majority of players are unable to do, due to inexperience.

One other significant point that aided the critique was a very close relationship between football and gambling in general, as a large majority of clubs in the Premier League have gambling companies as sponsors.

Moving forward

With the deal currently set to last until the end of 2024, it’s not fully clear how everything will pan out. However, with the responses to Harris’ statements that are being seen online, it’s clear that the public largely shares the opinion, and so do many other politicians.

 

Nigel Adams, the British sports and creative industries minister, stated that the government is also unhappy with this arrangement, especially after FA boasted its “Heads Together” mental health campaign.

 

Adams said that the FA was already asked to reconsider the deal to see what can be done to retract this specific element, and that he’ll be actually meeting with the FA soon regarding the matter.

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