How Gamblers Are Helping to Solve Problem Gambling

Recently, we’ve written several articles about problem gambling. It’s becoming a topic of increasing concern, including to the British public. And now, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) is taking innovative steps to reduce the harm from problem gambling.

This comes after political pressure for the gambling industry to put harm-reduction methods in place to help curb the effects of problem gambling on health and welfare.

From the Horse’s Mouth

What innovative steps is UKGC planning? They’re seeking help from the people who have experience with problem gambling: recovering gambling addicts.

Who better to help than the people who’ve experienced a gambling problem and recovered? They understand the tools and mindsets that work.

As such, the UKGC is setting up a new advisory group called “Experts by Experience” (EbE). This group will look at the various initiatives used by online casinos and how they impact play.

For example, VIP schemes are supposedly more attractive to problem gamblers than to non-problem gamblers. This is because the schemes reward gamblers for playing longer and spending more money.

What Changes Should We Expect?

The findings made by the EbE will go on to inform the law with some types of gambling becoming illegal. The EbE’s research is likely to look at a range of issues, from online-slots betting limits to advertising practices.

In 2019, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld a complaint against the online casino giant, Casumo, for its advert-targeting methods. They showed promotional adverts to gambling addicts. Despite Casumo probably doing this unintentionally, the ASA took action against them anyway for failing to take adequate steps to prevent vulnerable people from seeing the adverts.

Issues with advertising practice have been a concern for a long time, and, during the lockdown, the UK’s gambling-sector take steps during lockdown to stop gambling adverts. Impressive.

Fuelling Research

In addition to re-examining gambling practices, the EbE will also research the impact of gambling on society. They will be looking to understand whether problem gambling has a negative societal impact, and, if it does, how widespread it is.

The EbE research will involve a wide range of people, including healthcare workers, gamblers, policy writers, and technology professionals. The aim is to get a holistic, comprehensive, view of the impact that gambling has on individuals and society.

The Future

Going forward, the UKGC wants to work with all sectors of the gambling industry (including casinos, players, and watchdogs) to create a safe gambling environment. The hope is to allow people to have fun when gambling, without the negative effects it can have on people’s lives.

For now, the EbE will operate for 6 months, but the UKGC is likely to extend it if it is successful.

Expect to see many more harm-reduction initiatives in the coming months and years as the industry learns to tackle problem gambling.

A picture of people sat in a meeting. This is to represent the advisory group who will help create initiatives to tackle problem gambling.