Over the past seven months, lawmakers in the United Kingdom have begun clamping down on the gambling industry. Gambling addiction is on the rise here, and the government is trying hard to change this. This week, a major UK university has revealed that gambling warnings do not actually work.
One of the new regulations set in place by the government is for online gambling operators to include warnings on gambling advertisements. According to a new study, these are completely ineffective. Let’s look at how the university came to this conclusion.
Back in January, the UK Gambling Commission announced it was preparing to set new regulations on the gambling industry. Multiple reports show that problem gambling is increasing in this country. Some politicians feel it’s one of the biggest public health issues that the UK is facing right now.
First, lawmakers announced new regulations on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT’s). These gambling machines previously accepted maximum wagers of £100. The government recently lowered this maximum stake to just £2. This restriction has impacted the country’s land-based betting shops in a major way.
One of the biggest regulations set this year was on gambling advertisements. In the past, marketing made up the majority of these company’s overall budget. Now, the UK has limited how these companies can promote their services.
Ads can no longer target those appearing to be under the age of 18. The use of social media for gambling promotion is also limited. Lawmakers have also forced gambling operators to include gambling warnings on each ad. According to one university, these warnings are completely ineffective.
There’s been a debate brewing over whether or not these warnings promote responsible gambling. The idea was similar to what you see on packs of cigarettes. Companies must inform players about the dangers of gambling addiction in each advertisement.
Academics at the University of Warwick recently conducted a study on these warnings. They measured the effect of the gaming industry’s primary slogan, “When the fun stops, stop.” According to the university, the warning did nothing to limit the number of gamblers.
In fact, there’s some indication that these warnings actually promote gambling. Researchers asked more than 500 people familiar with sports betting to place wagers and view gambling advertisements. Some of the ads featured the warning message, others did not.
Interestingly, those who saw the gambling warnings wagered more than those who didn’t. There’s not enough information to say that the warnings promote gambling. It’s clear, however, that they do little to stop it.
The researchers were quick to point out that the word “fun” in the slogan is printed in a much larger font. Some analysts feel that the message is not intended to stop gambling. Instead, it’s purpose is to get gamblers to reflect on their behavior.
Many of the top gambling operators in the UK have been affected by these new regulations. For a time, these companies attempted to fight against the new restrictions. Now, most are realizing that additional regulations are inevitable.
Some are beginning to embrace the new laws. This week, five of the most powerful gaming operators in the country announced they were working together to decide where responsible gambling funding should go. These companies operate the most successful online gambling sites in the UK.
Despite the numerous regulations set this year, the UK’s online gambling industry continues to grow. Recent reports indicate that gaming revenue has increased by 2.9% over the past six months. It’s not entirely surprising, as many laws set here target the country’s land-based betting shops.
We’re likely to see more regulations hit the country this year. In April, the government announced a “National Strategy” to combat gambling addiction. Stay tuned for more updates to law changes here!
Are you surprised to hear that gambling warnings don’t work? What new regulations should be put on this industry? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!
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