UK Gambling Industry in the News — Weekly Round-up for September 7, 2018

Bigger Prizes Planned For UK National Lottery

Operator Camelot reacts to slump in ticket sales

Camelot, the operator of Britain’s National Lottery, confirmed Monday that it is to increase the prize pots for its Lotto game following a slump in ticket sales.

Matching five or more balls plus the bonus ball from November will see players win a fixed GBP 1 million, up from an estimated GBP 50,000 which is currently based on sales.

Media reports indicate that the changes follow an in-depth review launched last year after sales dropped 8.8 percent in 2016/17 compared to the preceding year.

Camelot chief executive Nigel Railton said: “It was clear from the review that we needed to create a more appealing and balanced range of games that offers something for everyone.”

The review found that when Lotto changed in 2015, requiring gamblers to pick six numbers from 59, compared to from 49 before, the game resembled its high-stakes sibling EuroMillions too closely because it became harder to win.

Camelot says that the jackpot will only be allowed to rollover five times in the future, compared to 10 currently. The money will roll down to the fixed categories on the sixth draw, boosting the coffers.

Five balls will win at least GBP 1,750 and four GBP 140, both increases from their current estimated values, and three balls will net GBP 30, up from GBP 25 now.

Wednesday’s base jackpot will increase from an estimated GBP 1.8 million to GBP 2 million, and Saturday’s from GBP 3.1 million to GBP 3.8 million.

The maximum amount on a rollover will decrease, however, from GBP 22 million currently to an estimated GBP 11 million on a Wednesday and GBP 12 million on a Saturday.

Gamevy To Set Up Games Development Studio In Newcastle

Northern city is one of the fastest growing tech communities outside of London

Lottery games and bingo developer Gamevy has announced that it is to set up a new development studio in Newcastle, UK, creating thirty new jobs in the city and augmenting its offices in London, Berlin and Bilbao, Spain.

The tech sector in the north east of England is reportedly growing twice as fast as the rest of the economy, according to a new report by Tech Nation. Newcastle has one of the fastest growing tech communities outside of London and is already home to gaming companies such as Mkodo, Bede Gaming, Ubisoft and Epic Games.

Newcastle has more than 44,000 people working within the creative, digital and tech industry. With 50,000 STEM students studying locally, companies have access to an impressive talent pool.

Helen Walton, chief commercial officer at Gamevy, said: “We’re delighted to be opening a hub in this vibrant city – and finding so many highly talented people with a passion for innovation. Recruitment is a challenge for every tech business, but Gamevy’s unique approach to how we work – with no set hierarchy or job roles – really seems to appeal to the independent spirit of Newcastle! We’re looking forward to welcoming our first hire to the Gamevy team.”

UK Gambling Commission Wants Your Input

Consultation prior to changes to license conditions and codes of practice

The UK Gambling Commission has launched a consultative period in which the public is invited to give input prior to possible changes to the Commission’s license conditions and codes of practice.

In a press release this week the Commission’s programme director Brad Enright explained: “Our aim is to protect children, reduce gambling-related harm and keep gambling fair and crime-free. We would encourage anyone with an interest in gambling matters to read our consultation and ensure they have their say on these proposals.”

Areas the Commission is focusing on include ways in which the age, personal and ID details of punters is verified before they are allowed to make a deposit or gamble. At present gamblers can make bets whilst their verification process is being carried out.

It is not just punters that the Commission would like to hear from; it has alsi indicated that it would welcome technology and other input from identity verification solution providers.

Submissions to the Commission close on November 27 this year.

In related news, the Commission has also announced details of a new series of informative events intended to improve the responsible gaming strategies of smaller operators.

These workshop format sessions are designed to create awareness on everydat compliance and money laundering measures, multi-operator self-exclusion and local risk assessment.

The first workshop will take place at the Performance Spaces Central Library in Manchester.

“Raising standards across the whole gambling industry is at the heart of our latest strategy to shape a well-regulated gambling market that works for consumers,” said Helen Venn, executive director of compliance and licensing at the Commission, in a press statement this week.

“These workshops are a really important opportunity for us to engage with smaller operators on a face-to-face basis and to re-emphasise the importance of gambling businesses taking their anti-money laundering and social responsibility requirements seriously.”

Scots Lawmakers Concerned About A Hamley Toy

Glasgow branch of famous toy store urged to remove Red 5 Slot Machine from its shelves

Lawmakers from Scotland’s SNP political party have urged the Glasgow branch of famous toy store Haley’s to remove a toy slot machine titled Red 5 Slot Machine from its shelves, claiming that the product could encourage and teach children to gamble from an early age despite its 14-year age limit for buyers.

The “Lucky Slot” one-armed bandit uses real coins and boasts light and sound effects and arcade-style action; it is on sale both on and offline, raising concerns that it contributes toward “normalising” gambling as part of everyday life and is therefore dangerous to minors.

Anti-gambling activist and SNP MP Ronnie Cowan has reportedly written to Hamley CEO Gudjon Reynisson appealing to the company to withdraw the product.

Cowan said he was deeply disappointed that this sort of gambling product was on sale at all, saying: “Hamleys in Glasgow are selling ‘Lucky Slot’ machines which allow players to “play with real coins” something which completely normalises the notion of gambling for those who are still too young to legally do so.”

In his letter, Cowan warns that introducing children to gambling as a ‘fun’ activity could increase the risks of developing gambling related harm now or in later life and also sends the wrong social message.

Cowan’s concerns were echoed by the charity GambleAware, where a spokeswoman added: “Similarities to real life adult gambling within toys and games are of serious concern as they run the risk of normalising gambling activity for children.

“Each week 370,000 children gamble with their own money and the fact that 25,000 children aged 11 to 16 years old are problem gamblers ought to serve as a loud wake-up call to everyone concerned.

“Many children report to having their first gambling experience at the age of 12, which shows a clear need for caution. We all have a responsibility to raise awareness of the risks of gambling and promote the help that’s available at BeGambleAware.org.”

Reynisson has not yet responded to Cowan’s letter.

Problem Gambling In The U.K. Stable

Contrary to mainstream media reports, problem gambling has not increased, and gambling participation is lower

The UK Gambling Commission released the results of a 2016 study on UK gambling compiled for its Health Survey Thursday, noting that the incidence of problem gambling remained stable at 1.2 percent of punters, equating to a national rate of just 0.07 percent.

The rate was the same as that in 2012 and 2015 studies for the same report, presenting factual evidence contradicting some mainstream media reports claiming that the incidence of problem gambling has soared.

The report also notes that there was a further year-on-year decline in gambling participation numbers at 57 percent – a reduction of 6 percent on the 2015 equivalent number and 8 percent lower than that recorded in 2012.

The overall online gambling participation rate also showed a reduction, albeit just 1 percent, from 2015 with a 2016 participation of 9 percent.

Online sports betting bucked the trend and was up 1 percent at 8 percent compared to 2015, but online casino and bingo participation fell a point to 3 percent.

Betting exchange participation was stable at 1 percent.

If National Lottery participation numbers are taken out of the calculation, gambling participation in the UK was down to 42 percent in 2016.

Commission executive director Tim Miller said Thursday that understanding the level of problem gambling is an important part of making gambling safer.

“That is why, together with our expert advisers the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB), we recently published a ground-breaking approach to understanding the full range of harms gambling can have on society,” he said. “The Health Survey, along with all of our evidence and data, indicates that the problem gambling rate in Great Britain is stable.

“However, we want to see a sustained and significant reduction in the levels of problem gambling and will continue to drive the industry to build momentum towards this goal.”

Other highlights from the study showed that:

  • The most active age group for gambling was 25 to 34 years, with males participating more than females;
  • Problem gamblers were far more likely to show symptoms of general mental ill health (2.2 percent) than those with less than optimal mental health (0.6 percent) or no evidence of mental problems (0.2 percent);
  • The UK National Lottery remains the most popular form of gambling, with 41 percent of people having taken part in at least one draw, followed by scratchcards on 21 percent and other lotteries with 14 percent;
  • Gamblers who consumed larger quantities of alcohol were more likely to have gambling problems (0.8 percent) than non-drinkers (0.3 percent).