Daily Management Review

British experts: Online gambling is dangerous


Excessive passion for online gambling leads to dependence, isolation and deterioration of health, experts warn. In Britain, the spread of such games is already called a "hidden epidemic."

Jamie Adams
Jamie Adams
Betting on the Internet is much easier than offline. You only need a bank card and e-mail. As a result, online gambling is becoming increasingly popular. And even if the gambler decided to delete the accounts, he is likely to return to the game with a new nickname, writes The Financial Times.

According to Mark Etches, general director of GambleAware, an organization that helps in the fight against gambling addiction, young people perceive gambling as a normal leisure. "Partly because gambling became associated with professional sports... Half of the Premier League wears bookmakers’ logos on their t-shirts. You have to be more careful with where you place such advertising and what audience it reaches," he said.

According to the British Gambling Commission, the fastest growing number of players are millennials (aged 25 to 34 years). The proportion of problem players in this group has also increased significantly, from 0.2% in 2014 to 1.5% in 2017. In general, the number of active accounts in gambling applications in the UK reached 23 million with a population of about 65 million. According to the commission, the British are increasingly betting smartphones and tablets - 51% of cases in 2017, compared to 43% in 2016.

According to the bookmakers, during the time of the World Cup in Russia, the rates around the world will total $ 1.6 billion against $ 210 million during the 2014 World Cup.

A group of British parliamentarians called for a change in the rules that apply to gambling. In an open letter to Culture Minister Matthew Hancock, they demanded that the government take measures to ensure "greater compliance with established norms, fairness and social responsibility in advertising and licensing."

According to the MPs, the current rules do not correspond to the digital age. They propose to label advertising of gambling as well as, for example, tobacco advertising. That is, inform consumers about a possible threat to health. In addition, such advertising should be banned during major sporting events. Authorities should also limit maximum bets in online games and prohibit bets from credit cards.

Tom Watson, one of the group's members, Labour Party MP and Minister of Digital Technologies, Culture, Media and Sports of the shadow cabinet, said: "The dependence on gambling is a hidden epidemic in the UK, and the growth in the number of online games and games for smartphones is the main part this problem... It's time to start considering this as a health crisis."

The Financial Times spoke with several people for whom online gambling became a problem. So, a 38-year-old man said that although it is possible to set a limit on the bet’s amount, nothing prevents to get an unlimited number of accounts. He himself had 15-20 accounts in such applications.

"Most of my friends make bids in applications. Most of those with whom I communicate at work, at football or at home, have betted at least once, and it's just entertainment for them... When I was younger, you could go to the bookmaker's office and bet on someone who wins. But on the Internet, the number of things you can bet on is simply ridiculous, from the number of red and yellow cards to the penalty shootout number. This is insane," - complained another person.

source: ft.com