As online gambling facilities are widely available in the UK, it didn’t take long for the country to experience surges in gambling activities since the pandemic. As a result, the continuously growing online gambling industry in the UK will likely face stricter regulations and restrictions as deemed necessary by policymakers.
University of Bristol Conducts Study of Gambling Behaviors During Lockdowns
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Bristol revealed that despite the many restrictions imposed by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) a minority of regular gamblers had significantly increased their online gambling and betting engagements during the lockdown events. Moreover, the study also showed that male punters had gambled more frequently than their female counterparts.
According to Professor Alan Emond of UB’s Medical School, the study provided them with real-time insights on how the gambling behavior and attitudes of the British people had changed as a result of the lockdowns. This was considering that everyone was confined inside their home, unable to participate in their usual social activities.
Based on two questionnaires to which more than 2,600 adult gamblers responded, the number of people who engaged in online casino games during the lockdowns had increased sixfold. The most played were bingo, poker and other online casino table games,
A particular area of concern are behaviors that combine regular gambling and binge drinking, Both are addictive and can lead to serious health problems and social consequences.
Professor Agnes Nairn of UB’s School of Management and an expert in online advertising said the the findings are alarming. The results reported by Professor Emond and his group indicate that as gambling habits have now largely shifted online, the vulnerable groups such as the minors and people with heavy drinking habits could be easily drawn into the gambling channels.
Once clever advertising amplifies the temptation to gamble online, the vulnerable members of UK’s society, particularly the children, could easily fall prey to the advertisements appearing in social media sites.
Concerns Over Gambling Addiction Can be Addressed by Gampstop
Take notice that in the UK, any sign of gambling addiction is immediately addressed through a self-exclusion program run by an anti-gambling addiction program known as Gamstop. All online casinos and sports betting sites licensed and supervised by the UKGC are required to integrate the Gamstop system in their platform as part of licensing conditions.
Through Gamstop, regular online gamblers who exhibit excessive gambling behaviors will automatically activate the self-exclusion program they signed up for upon account opening. Depending on the period of self-exclusion chosen by the online gambler, (e.g. 6 months, 1 year or up to 5 years) gambling activities will be limited during the inclusive period and in all UK online casinos and betting sites.
Still, since online gambling has been prevalent in the UK for decades now, seasoned and professional gamblers cannot be expected to play only in UK online casinos. Casinos not on gamstop (casinosnotongamstop.online) are available but mostly licensed by other gaming jurisdictions such as the Curaçao Gaming Control Board (CGCB). Just like Curaçao Gaming Control Boardthe UKGC, the CGCB also mandates compliance with fair play and responsible gambling operations, including blocking of minors and institution of measures to prevent fraud and money laundering.