Gambling as a public health issue

It seems that each day we’re seeing some new regulation about the gambling industry. Whether it’s a crackdown on advertising or a new fine, the UK Gambling Commission are all over the industry. Now, MPs are debating whether or not this should be taken even further!

A Public Health Issue

MPs are likening the world of online gambling to the heyday of tobacco advertising. At this time, the industry was allowed to grow and advertise very much unchecked, until a wave of new restrictions turned that tide. This is largely seen as one of the best moves the government has made over the years, as it’s drastically cut down on cigarette use and associated health problems.

Now, MPs want to see a similar crackdown on gambling ads. They don’t want brands to be able to glamourize the pastime, appeal to children or really do much at all to flog their wares. This is due to the fact that gambling addiction is actually rising, which seems to point to the fact that current measures aren’t doing enough to tackle this.

They pointed the finger at large gambling operators that are able to find and exploit loopholes within the current laws. They are able to operate outside of the law according to MPs, who feel that the fines laid down by the gambling industry simply aren’t enough. This allows large operators to gain plausible deniability, as they plead ignorance over the laws.

MPs also openly criticised advertisement campaigns that encouraged players to bet more or to go for another round of betting. Adverts that emphasised the thrill of an additional bet or pushing the limits have been debated, as this kind of terminology could prove hazardous. We see government getting involved in advertising campaigns for many restricted products in this way, to ensure that we see them in an accurate light.

More Regulations

We know that UK gambling regulations are getting stricter all the time, but this could ramp up as a result of this debate. Certain parties even want gambling regulation to come under the purview of the Health Minister. This would solidify the nature of the legislation completely under this move.

This is a serious issue within the UK, costing the economy a lot of cash. Within the movement, there are many that have lost money and loved ones to the world of online gambling, so it’s clear to see it’s a point of contention. It’s a difficult concept for many that enjoy gambling as a hobby, as they wouldn’t want to see this removed completely.

There is an element of leisure and entertainment within this broad industry, however we do have to tackle those that can’t control their spend. Tools like reality checks and self-exclusion can do a lot to mitigate this risk, but for these debaters the answer lies in the advertising itself.

Affiliates like ourselves also came under fire during this debate too. The practice of affiliate marketing itself has been criticised as it’s seen as a way to direct users to gambling sites. This is a major part of the industry though and one that seriously impact our users.

With so many different facets to this issue, it seems there’s no one, clear answer. Instead, it may take the industry changing over a period of many years to change how we perceive gambling. We don’t think that this will be an overnight process, nor should it be. There’s a delicate balance to be struck here between protecting those that are vulnerable and having a successful industry.