Gamble Aware Study Helps Define Problem Gambling More Clearly

Problem gambling charity hopes that information will assist online gambling operators in identifying and protecting at risk players

The UK problem gambling charity Gamble Aware has published the results of a study which it says may assist online gambling operators in identifying and better protecting ‘at risk’ players.

PwC carried out the study, which included access to data from 10,000 online player accounts with the cooperation of major online gambling firms.

The study reveals that individuals with a gambling problem spend an average of GBP 98 a day, place up to 90 bets and are more likely to gamble in the middle of the night – early hours of the morning throughout the week, compared with typical gamblers who spend GBP 14 on between two and seven punts on a day when they bet, usually over weekends.

Young, unmarried men who are unemployed but looking for work are considered most at risk of developing a problem, the study found.

Gamble Aware did not recommend specific actions for online gambling operators, however it suggests that operator measures could include freezing the accounts of players showing signs of addiction or sending instant pop-up messages to individual customers.

Commenting to the Guardian newspaper on the Gamble Aware results, Labour MP and former chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling, Carolyn Harris, said:

“It is an inconvenient truth for online gambling companies that such a huge proportion of their revenue comes from problem gambling. So it’s little wonder they have moved so slowly when it is simply not in their commercial interest to do anything meaningful to prevent addiction.”

“This is unsustainable, so the government must look at the maximum stakes online once they finally reduce the maximum stake to GBP 2 on FOBTs in October.”

Remote gambling accounts for about 40 percent of the GBP 15 billion-a-year UK industry, the Guardian notes.

Clive Hawkswood, chief executive of the online industry trade body, the Remote Gambling Association, said: “The remote gambling industry is committed to making sure there are suitable safeguards in place for all online gamblers and particularly those at most risk.”