No single cause for increase in gambling self-exclusion – UK regulator

No single cause for increase in gambling self-exclusion – UK regulator

Monday, December 8, 2014 Totally Gaming

UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has said there could be a variety of different reasons for an increase in the number of people opting to voluntarily exclude themselves from gambling activities.

The UK regulatory body last week published a report in which it was revealed that self-exclusion, where a customer asks a licensed premises not to let them gamble, increased significantly in the past year. The number of people opting for voluntary self-exclusion between April 2013 and March 2014 increased to 24,417, compared to a reported 16,312 in 2009-2010.

The latest set of figures has been provided by bookmakers, while the older results came courtesy of local authorities.

Speaking to TotallyGaming.com about this increase, a spokesperson from UKGC said it is difficult to establish a single cause for this increase and it could instead be put down to a number of reasons.

“As far as betting self-exclusion figures are concerned, it is difficult to attribute a single cause for an increase in the number of new self-exclusions as there could be a variety of reasons for this rise,” the spokesperson said.

“As the gambling regulator, we strongly believe that the gambling industry is best placed to deliver and promote responsible gambling and we expect gambling operators to be able to demonstrate that social responsibility is a key component of their business.”

Despite an increase in the number of people stopping themselves from gambling, the UKGC report also noted that there were 19,589 known incidents where self-excluded customers either gambled or attempted to gamble during the most recent 12-month period.

This latter figure has attracted criticism from a number of different campaign groups, with Matt Zarb-Cousin of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling having aired his concerns.

Speaking to the Daily Mail newspaper, Zarb-Cousin said: “Self-exclusion only occurs after gambling has turned into a huge problem for someone. The betting industry should address the cause of problem gambling rather than the outcome.”

UKGC has also attracted criticism over the lack of a strong system to help gamblers stop themselves from taking part in online gaming activities. In response, the spokesperson revealed to TotallyGaming.com that the regulator is working with various bodies to develop such a system.

“We are currently working with the Remote Gambling Association and others to establish how a national remote self exclusion system might work – we’ll be consulting on this in the new year,” the spokesperson confirmed.

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