Compulsive gamblers at risk with new gambling technologies
In 2018 the U.K gambling industry made £14 billion and this is a figure which has increased every year since 2009 while not looking like slowing down any time soon. The main source of this gambling income was casino betting, sports betting and bingo which equated for 38% of the revenue generated.
In fact, the U.K is the world’s biggest country for gambling (per capita) which is mainly as a result of it being legal and very well regulated, unlike in the U.S.A where it is currently only legal in 7 states and has consequently created an illegal market thought to be worth .
Why new technology brings wide opportunities to gamblers
But gambling is changing quicker than ever as a result of the rise in modern day technology - especially on the internet. Online casino games are now more popular than ever because the technology is in place to allow gamblers to bet huge amounts of money from the comfort of their own home. Plus 4g and 5g connectivity has allowed for live dealers to become extremely popular with online gamblers as they are now able to sit at a “digital table” with people from all over the world and play things such as blackjack and roulette.
It is not just the online casino market that has been transformed. The world of online sports betting has been revolutionised because now people are able to bet in-play during live sporting events. It is even thought that 5g technology will allow people to bet on things such as if a penalty will be missed or scored once it has been awarded, or even where the next dart will land. Technology within sports betting also allows you to view the best odds at half time through TV commercials and is creating a omnichannel approach meaning that the same offer you see on TV is then immediately available to you via email, over the phone, in the bookies or via a sports betting app.
So is this all a positive?
For 90% of all people who gamble, yes. It allows them to have a fun bet on any sport, in any country, at any time for any amount of money with the winnings being credited and back into their account within minutes. For the 10% of people who are classed as problem gamblers, no. Problem gambling represents the need to gamble constantly and compulsively, despite tragic consequences or a desire to quit (gambling addiction). In the U.K there are 2 million people who are at risk of developing a gambling problem, and in 2018 it was reported that problem gamblers are 15x more likely to commit suicide than any other form of addict.
The issue technology poses to this vulnerable demographic is that there suddenly becomes no escape for them. Whereas 30 years ago you would physically have to go and place a bet or visit a casino, today you can gamble from which virtually everyone in the U.K owns. Not to mention that previously you could leave the house with an amount of money which you are prepared to lose and nothing else, then if you lose it there would at least be the “cooling off period” where you would have to go home and get more money, allowing you to think better of your actions.
Today’s problem gamblers, now have the ability to place bets on anything anywhere. This puts that element of temptation in their mind at all times and where previously they could almost remove themselves from an environment where gambling was rife, now they can’t because of the omnichannel approach making it unavoidable.
There are however some amazing facilities in place to help problem gamblers which are only available as a result of technological advancements. These include websites such as gamstop.co.uk which allows you to self-exclude from being able to place a bet of any description anywhere in the U.K. So technology within gambling is not all bad, it’s just important to understand your limits and to understand your weaknesses and do everything you can to avoid them.