Industry heavyweights fear blanket laws as British Parliament debates curbing online gambling addiction
London, April 2 2021: Entain and Flutter, two big names in the British online betting arena, are taking action in a bid to deter parliament from intervening with tighter restrictions as online betting has taken a firm grip in the country. Being among the few sectors that saw a boom during the pandemic, online betting sites are now at risk as Government plans to impose wider limits.
Entain said they will now impose limits on customers with potential financial problems. The technology based solution will track and raise red flags in response to some behaviors , such as betting late at night, placing larger and larger bets in an attempt to “make up” for losses and switching between cards.The customer will be sent a warning through phone or email and may result in the account being frozen. Limits may be placed on the maximum losses during a single session.
Its rival Flutter has already implemented a “three-layer” system that intervenes and can potentially block the account, if certain behavioral patterns are noticed.
These measures come at a time when there is a debate in parliament on the costs of risky gambling and its social impact such as relationship problems, families in debt, resorting to crime and even cases of suicide. The 2005 Gambling Act which is now deemed to be out-dated will be revamped.
According to experts, about 0.8% of the British adult population is addicted to gambling, a situation further exacerbated when people couldn’t leave their homes during the country wide lock downs
A series of measures have already been taken to tackle the broader issues, from banning the use of credit cards to bet, placing warning messages on TV adverts, limiting bets on slot machines and raising the betting age for the national lottery to 18.
Betting groups fear that controls could be imposed on all players, and warned that this could encourage many players to turn to the black market and illegal betting. Strict affordability checks across the board could “considerably disrupt earnings given that the UK market represents a sizeable chunk of income”, according to Susannah Streeter, an analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
In the meantime however, big online betting groups are becoming more popular in the United States, which could insulate them from less favourable conditions in Britain.
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