Gambling addiction or problem gambling has been one of the most significant emerging issues in as far as gambling is concerned. With more and more gambling facilities and platforms being introduced and becoming even more accessible, regulators and various authorities have begun to look deeper into the issue of problem gambling which means that there is still hope for people with the problem. One of the most recent developments in this regard is the decision by the United Kingdom’s National Health Service to open a clinic that will be treating people who have gambling addictions in the north of England making it the very first clinic of its kind outside London.
This new clinic is set to be opened in before the summer of 2019 and was made possible by a $1.5 million grant from a charity which happens to be funded by GambleAware. This is particularly great for people outside London since, as it stands, gambling addicts must travel to south London to get treatment. The problem gambling clinic will be called the NHS Northern Gambling Clinic and it will be run with a partnership of the GamCare network and the NHS Foundation.
Among the services that the clinic will be providing will be mental health counseling as well as social services for the gambling addicts – researches have found that people with gambling disorders need help with a number of different problems including debt, bankruptcy, crime, drug use, suicide, and even job loss. In essence, the goal of the clinic is to not only help the gambling addicts break their addiction but also give them the necessary psychological treatment and counseling so that they are able to get back on their feet financially. All these will be complemented with group therapy sessions which will help the patients to open up about some of the issues that they face.
United Kingdom’s Gambling Statistics
Gamblers in the United Kingdom have so many options and a number of critics have pointed out that the availability of gambling products is part of the problem. Gamblers area able to wager online or at land-based facilities for almost all of their favorite sporting activities. The same goes for online casino and online poker games.
Research shows that almost two million in the United Kingdom are problem gamblers and nearly 400,00 of them are said to be gambling addicts. However, the government has been allegedly ignoring the issue of problem gambling because of the money that gambling brings into the coffers of the country. However, there have some moves by the British government to regulate the gambling industry further in the hopes that they would be able to deal with the issue.
Across the UK, there is a growing concern about the abundance of gambling ads that are broadcast on television. There have been calls for the government for review advertising rules for gambling operators to restrict them from broadcasting commercials at times when children would be watching.
A Call for Improved Gambling Ad Restrictions
In the United Kingdom, gambling advertisements are allowed to air on television before 9pm but only if they are part of a live sports broadcast. These are quite lax restrictions when you considering that many countries don’t permit gambling advertisements at any time. Australia is one country in which gambling ads were once allowed – but the government has recently introduced new rules that bans all ads during sporting events.
The major concern about gambling ads is that they may normalise gambling for young people watching. Children who view advertisements for sports betting during sporting events may not be able to separate the two activities, and they could feel encouraged to take part in gambling. The new rules that the public is calling for aims to reduce this risk.
The most interesting aspect of the issue is that sports betting companies have backed the call for new restrictions on gambling advertisements. Phillip Bowcock, Chief Executive of William Hill, has stated that a change is needed and that government officials should “have a serious discussion about it”. Paddy Power’s Chief Executive Peter Jackson has echoed these sentiments, saying that he’s open to tougher restrictions on gambling ads but a legislation must be passed first to ensure that gaming companies follow the rules.
In Violation of the Advertising Standards Authority Guidelines
Experts at Warwick University have looked into the issue, and they have concluded that the type of live odds betting offers shown during sporting events violate guidelines set out by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The authority’s code states that marketing should not encourage players to gamble by imposing significant time limitations – but the research team found that there were over 60 of these ads played during England matches in the 2018 World Cup.
The researchers noted that technology has changed the landscape of the betting market in the United Kingdom. Previously, football betting was relatively uncommon because punters would have to wager in person or over the phone. Now, players can wager using their phones and computers – with gambling advertisements compelling them to do so.
These are the types of issues that the public wants to UK government to look into. There is certainly room for improvement when it comes to gambling advertisement laws, with a view to preventing young people from being compelled to gamble and adults from engaging in irresponsible gambling behaviour.