UK Gambling Commission Consultation Period Extended

UK Gambling Commission Consultation Period ExtendedProblem gambling continues to be an area that is of concern. For the past couple of months, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) have been carrying out a consultation into the prevalence of this subject. Such is the amount of data being collected, the consultation has been extended to Friday February 26.

Change is on its way in the UK gambling industry. The government requested that the UKGC carry out this consultation. Its findings will be given to health experts and have some influence in the upcoming review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

How Problem Gambling is Affecting the UK Population

For a fair while, there has been a call for more reliable data on problem gambling to be collected. Once all the data has finally been received, the analysis period will begin. The aim is to calculate just how much problem gambling is affecting the UK population. Then the task will be to see what can be done to prevent this problem.

One suggested idea is the introduction of affordability checks when a customer loses £100 in a month. There are fears about what such regulation would have on gambling and sports such as horse racing. An anonymous letter was recently sent to MPs raising concerns about the affordability checks expressing these fears.

There has of course been some concern about how gamblers have coped during the ongoing pandemic. Recent statistics have seen an increase in the amount being wagered at online gambling sites. The amount of time being spent online at gambling sites has also increased as people have more time on their hands.

The fear is that the changes could cause more gamblers to open offshore accounts in a bid to escape the new regulations. The number of such accounts being used is decreasing but not the amounts being wagered.

Gambling Industry & Sponsorships

It’s not just the gambling industry that is on tenterhooks. Sport itself could be in trouble if the plans to make changes to gambling sponsorships go ahead. Just as when tobacco sponsorship was outlawed, sports could see millions of pounds of shirt sponsorship taken out of the game.

It’s believed that £110 million of sponsorship deals in the Premier League and Championship could be wiped out if legislation is carried out. If that was the case, then there will be calls for a phasing in of the ban so as to give clubs a chance of finding new deals.

Both the gambling industry and the sports world have been hit hard by the pandemic. Football teams are struggling due to the fact their games are being played without a paying audience. Losing sponsorship deals would deepen the financial crisis.

The top teams in the Premier League may not be affected too much by such a move with replacements easier to find. They tend to go for having gambling partners rather than the companies being their main sponsors. Others in the league and in lower divisions have the opposite situation with bookmakers being main sponsors. Finding replacements won’t be so easy.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to have a major say on how the 2005 Gambling Act is changed. It promises to be a worrying time as the wait to see just what decisions will be made sometime in the future.