A major report has warned that losses on the most addictive gambling products are mainly concentrated in deprived areas. According to the report, over 420,000 British gamblers lose no less than £2,000 on an annual basis.
The report unveils information about the massive losses of the most avid gamblers and raises concern regarding the low level of intervention that competent regulatory bodies and authorities have with gambling operators in an effort to prevent their customers from gambling-related harm. The findings of the research triggered more calls for the UK Government to include tougher rules regarding online slot machines’ stakes and stricter affordability checks in its review of the local gambling laws that is expected to be officially unveiled within days.
As a result of their research, analysts from the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) and the University of Liverpool raised some concerns about online gambling – a market category that is currently dominated by online slots that also includes online bingo and casino – that is estimated at about £4 billion a year.
As mentioned above, an analysis of 140,000 customer accounts with seven gambling operators unveiled that an estimated 129,000 gamblers lost an average of no less than £2,000 a year. However, researchers noted that the actual number of people suffering from such large losses as a result of their gambling is likely to be much higher because the research data covers only 37.5% of the online gambling market in the UK.
Campaigners Call for the Government to Impose Stricter Measures on Online Gambling
Analysts have been particularly worried about the negative effect that virtual slots could have on avid gamblers, especially considering the fact that 50,000 people were found to have played for the equivalent of 8 full days on an annual basis resulting in an average loss of £5,000. Another concern is that online slots are a form of gambling that is more likely to include women, although gambling as a whole is usually more male-dominated.
The study also found that only about 1% of gamblers account for 40% of gambling operators’ slots revenue, with customers losing an average of almost £10,500 each on the games. This, according to analysts, carry disproportionately high gambling addiction rates. The research that was held between 2018 and 2019 has highlighted the heavy reliance of the local gambling sector on a small group of avid gamblers, with the top 10% of accounts having contributed for the most part (almost 80%) of companies’ revenue.
The research found that despite being quite popular among local customers, sports betting is a form of gambling with lower average spending. According to reports, about 290,000 sports betting accounts, mostly ones owned by male punters, lost over £2,000 on an annual basis.
As mentioned above, the research found that customer losses generated across all types of online gambling were concentrated primarily in the most deprived areas of the country, with about one-quarter of industry revenue being generated in 20% of the poorest regions across the UK.
Campaigners have been calling for the UK Government to include more restrictions in terms of online slot machines in its ongoing review of the sector, with proposals including lower stakes similar to the £2 ones that were imposed on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) a few years ago. A more restrictive policy in terms of gambling advertising has also been proposed, but the suggested measures faced opposition from the strong lobby of the British gambling industry.
Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.