New UKGC Problem Gambling Numbers Prove New Regulations Unnecessary

The UK has asserted for years that it needed to make drastic changes to its gambling laws in order to force gaming operators to address responsible gambling. A new survey by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) shows just how wrong the government is.

UKGC Executive Director Tim Miller
UKGC Executive Director Tim Miller
UKGC Executive Director Tim Miller, who oversees the gaming regulator’s research. A new survey the UKGC conducted shows that problem gambling continues to be virtually nonexistent. (Image: Racing Post)

Earlier this year, the UKGC announced that the level of consumers who fell in the “problem gambling” category was just 0.2%. However, the body responsible for accurately monitoring and controlling the gambling industry added that this was 50% less than a year earlier.

That drop – and even the 0.4% level that preceded it – demonstrates that the gaming industry has done well in its management of responsible gaming protocols. However, if there needs to be more evidence, the UKGC’s latest report shows that the problem gambling level remains at 0.2%.

Gaming Operators Remain Responsible

The UKGC has released the results of its latest quarterly responsible gambling survey. It conducted a phone interview, gathering data from over 4,000 consumers in order to calculate the success of those programs.

Through the first six months of 2022, the gaming industry has done well in maintaining responsible gambling protocols. Still, the regulator wants more.

To be fair, however, the results may not accurately reflect the true state of responsible gambling. This is because, in part, the regulator relies on the Problem Gambling Severity Index. This is a system the US National Library of Medicine has said may contain errors.

In addition, the UKGC only asks survey participants three questions. As such, it doesn’t provide a lot of data points with which to calculate scores.

Still, the regulator, which receives tens of millions of dollars voluntarily from gaming operators each year, is confident with its program. It determined that problem gambling among males was only 0.3%, while for females, it was just 0.1%. The male figure is lower than it was a year ago.

For the 16-24 age group, the figure was 0.8%, a slight increase from last year. However, the UKGC stated that the difference between the two figures was insignificant.

The next age group, 25-34, had a problem gambling rate of 0.3% and the 35-44 group showed 0.2%. The survey found that, for the 596 respondents in the group between 45 and 54 years of age, there was 0% problem gambling.

The two highest age groups, 55-64 and 64 and above, reflected rates of 0.2% and 0.1%, respectively. As a result of all of the input, it’s confusing why politicians like Iain Duncan Smith would declare war if the government doesn’t introduce strict responsible gambling protocols.

UK Determined to Crack the Gaming Industry

Between the government and the UKGC, Great Britain is spending an inordinate amount of time reworking the gaming industry. The UKGC is allocating a substantial portion of its resources to develop new systems for gauging responsible gambling. This is in spite of the fact that its own data showing there is essentially no problem gambling.

On the other hand, legislators have spent the past several years writing and rewriting gambling laws. They were going to present their recommendations last year, but faced delays.

As 2022 rolled around and more issues arose, new delays arrived, as well. So now, at the earliest, the government’s white paper outlining its new gambling laws won’t be ready until at least this September.

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