Gambling – both online and offline – is something of a hot top in the United Kingdom at the moment. Only last week the United Kingdom Gambling Commission announced that it was banning the use of credit cards at all descriptions of online gambling sites (and now similar moves are being discussed in Ireland and Spain). Now, bosses in charge of the National Health Service in the UK have written to five leading online betting firms asking them to take measures to help end what they call the ‘Vicious Gambling Cycle’.
The decision to reach out to the leading five betting firms in the UK was taken by Clair Murdoch, who serves as the national mental health director for the NHS. In a letter signed by her, she has demanded immediate action in order to prevent people from becoming problem gamblers.
The five leading betting firms in the UK represent a dozen leading betting sites
The five betting firms contacted were bet365, William Hill, BetFred, Flutter Entertainment (owners of Betfair and PaddyPower), and GVC Holdings (owners of Ladbrokes, Coral, bwin, Sportingbet, partypoker, FoxyBingo and others). The letter was also sent to the CEO of the United Kingdom Gambling Commission and the head of the Betting and Gaming Council.
There were two main areas that Murdoch’s letter expressed the most concern about: VIP schemes and the streaming of live sporting events.
“I am concerned that offering people who are losing vast sums of money,” said Murdoch in her letter. “Free tickets, VIP experiences, and free bets, all proactively prompt people back into the vicious gambling cycle which many want to escape.”
As for the streaming of live streaming events, Murdoch has noted that many sports betting sites only allow specific events to be streamed if the holder of an account has placed a bet with a minimum stake upon that event. Murdoch feels that this is a massive risk, as there’s the chance that casual sports fans will become gamblers as they are forced to place a bet on the event they want to watch in order to be able to watch it.
The FA found itself in hot water because of its streaming deal with bet365
The FA received condemnation recently when they allowed several third round FA Cup ties to be streamed on the UK’s most popular sports betting site bet365 – but only if viewers had signed up with the site and made a £5 deposit. The FA have said that they will review the deal they made with bet365 in 2017.
Murdoch slammed the current links between sports teams – and in particular football teams – and the betting realm. She called the links ‘deeply disturbing’ and even went as far as labelling many of the tactics used by gambling companies in order to encourage people to gamble as ‘shameful’
|Current Shirt Sponsors in the Top Two Tiers of the English Football System|
|Arsenal||Fly Emirates||Barnsley||C.K. Beckett|
|Aston Villa||W88||Birmingham City||BoyleSports|
|Brighton & HA||American Express||Brentford||EcoWorld|
|Chelsea||Yokohama||Cardiff City||Tourism Malaysia|
|Crystal Palace||ManBetX||Charlton Athletic||Children with Cancer|
|Leicester City||King Power||Fulham||Dafabet|
|Liverpool||Standard Chartered||Huddersfield Town||PaddyPower|
|Manchester City||Etihad Airways||Hull City||SportPesa|
|Manchester United||Chevrolet||Leeds United||32Red|
|Newcastle United||Fun88||Luton Town||Indigo Residential|
|Sheffield United||Union Standard||Millwall||Huski Chocolate|
|Southampton||LD Sports||Nottingham Forest||Football Index|
|Tottenham Hotspur||AIA||Preston North End||32Red|
|Watford||Sportsbet.io||Queens Park R||Royal Panda|
|West Ham United||Betway||Reading||Casumo|
|West Bromwich A||Ideal Boilers|
Table of current main sponsors of all top two tier English FA and English Football League clubs. Gambling companies in bold.
Currently 27 out of the 44 teams that make up the top two tiers of English football are sponsored by gambling companies, which is 61 percent. Murdoch has called upon sporting teams to “go back to their roots” and encourage fans and families to watch their favourite teams and players play, as opposed to those who want to gamble on the outcome of games. She also called on the owners of leading football teams to stop ‘milking’ as much money as possible from the people who support them.
Murdoch pointed out that the gambling industry made a profit of £14 billion in the UK alone last year, and that £1.6 billion of that was spent back on advertising. She has stated her opinion that advertising on gambling should be significantly curbed in order to help those struggling with gambling addiction from falling back into the circle of problem gambling.
Clair Murdoch’s move has been roundly applauded by dozens of interested groups
This move by the NHS in England has been warmly received and applauded. The Betting and Gaming Council, which has responsibilities for the representation of the majority of gambling operators in the United Kingdom, has pointed out that it is attempting to make the gambling sector in the UK must less of a dangerous place for problem gamblers and underage gamblers. The BGC has recently brought in improved age verification checks. Gambling companies are also now not allowed to advertise during live sporting events. The organisation has said it plans to meet with Murdoch so that the BGC and NHS can work together.
It is estimated that 430,000 people in England could be deemed ‘problem gamblers’. Fourteen NHS clinics are planned across the UK to help such people. In 2019 GAMCARE received over 9,000 calls to its helpline, an increase of nine percent from 2018.
Here at NewCasinos.org we are thoroughly committed to responsible gambling. When your gambling stops being fun, stop gambling, and never gamble with money that you cannot afford to lose.
BONUS READ: The Swedish Gambling Authority – One Year On