Although online gambling is increasing in popularity, social attitudes are changing throughout the world, especially in the UK and in many EU countries. New upcoming regulations shift more responsibility on operators to protect users, prevent harm, identify signs of risk earlier and act in a timely and effective manner to limit the social harm of addiction.
In a survey commissioned by the GambleAware charity, YouGov estimated that up to 2.7% of adults in Great Britain, or nearly 1.4 million people, were problem gamblers.
Operators typically focus on 0.7% of pathological gamblers – those with most severe addiction.
This however doesn’t account form the range of harm caused by gambling:
As many as 7% of adults, or 3.6 million people, report having been negatively affected by someone else’s gambling problem.
Overall, research suggests that nearly 5 million British people have experienced harm linked to gambling, even accounting for the overlap between problem gamblers and those they affect.
Previous research estimated that 6.6% of gamblers in England are at low or moderate risk of developing problems with their gambling plus 1.2% of gamblers in England identified as problem gamblers.
The entire gambling industry is facing a real sustainability crisis. On one hand, social attitudes and regulatory pressure increasing the liability risk of operators, who must start actively protecting users or face huge fines, financial penalties and reputation damage.
On the other hand, growth is also stalling in well regulated countries: competition for customers is very high and very costly. Operators use large signup bonuses to lure new players and rely on network affiliates to acquire new customers. Churn rates have never been higher, as most users simply go with the best bonus offers, leading to high churn rates and low brand loyalty.
Many operators are now looking at expanding to new emergent markets to sustain growth, but essentially this ignores the actual problem.
Technology can make a big difference in identifying early signs of problematic gambling. Current solutions unfortunately place responsibility on the player – presume all users make rational decisions that are in their best interest – and therefore only interventin the most serious cases of pathological gambling. It is estimated that about 2% of players fall in this category.
We only work with licenced operators which are willing to adopt the new regulation.