UK News

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The five big betting companies have admitted, for the first time, under questioning from members of the House of Lords Select Committee on gambling harm, that a huge percentage of their customer ‘deposits’ come from one percent or less of their customers. For example, the figures for Ladbrokes Coral are 38% coming from 1.4% of customers and in William Hill’s case a fifth was said to come from just 0.6% of customers. These so-called ‘VIP customers’ are seduced with perks and bonuses.

The language, as always, is revealing. ‘VIP’ might suggest a wealthy punter with money to burn. The truth we know from research is very different. This one percent is disproportionately made up of people who have become addicted to gambling and those on low incomes who cannot afford their gambling losses. ‘Deposits’, which has a ring of sound financial management, translates into ‘losses’, a more realistic term.

The relatively high percent of losses coming from FOBT players, revealed by analysis of the 2010 British Gambling Prevalence Survey, helped lead to the eventual reduction in the maximum FOBT stake size. Will these new revelations now lead the House of Lords committee to make bold proposals for much stricter control of online gambling and will it wake the Government up to the dangers of modern gambling and spur them on to get on with their promised review of the 2005 Gambling Act? The Act needs binning and replacing with one that puts public health as a higher priority than these large companies’ business interests.

The Guardian 02/01/2020; Mail Online 05/02/2020

 

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