New 'free bet' tax set to hit UK's online operators

Gambling firms within the UK have offered to help fund the governments gambling awareness campaign. It is expected that this government initiative will cost an estimated £8 million.

The offer made by gambling operators in the UK comes at a time of increased restrictions and sanctions. Recently it was revealed that gambling operator 888 would pay fines of around £7.8m to the UKGC. The United Kingdom’s Gambling Commission found the company to be failing problem gamblers after a lengthy investigation. Speaking about the difficulties facing the gambling sector Itai Frieberger said “Enhanced regulation in the UK around areas such as television advertising and bonuses will impact overall UK market growth.”

Advertising is the biggest cause of contention with a government review of the gambling sector forthcoming. Composed by the (DCMS) Department of Culture, Media and Sports the review will outline the government’s feelings about industry practices including around television advertisements relating to gambling. Many top government figures including Lord Alan Sugar (most known for the UK Apprentice) have also voiced their opinions. Lord Sugar said: “The government need to do something about stopping gambling television adverts that can be viewed by young people, the first being, although maybe not a solution, putting them after 9pm, after the watershed.”

With the DCMS review looming many people are suspicious of any money coming from the gambling industry. However, as the issue of problem gambling affects both government and gambling firms it would be reckless to exclude them from the table.

Current Gambling Company Measures to Protect at Risk Gamblers:

Despite popular belief the gambling industry does take measures to safeguard their players. These measures also include creating an awareness of problem gambling and providing helpful information. Information provided often contains how to spot signs of problem gambling and contact details for professional helplines and charities.

Online casinos, bookies and land based casinos all know their customers well. Customer habits are well monitored and recorded making them well placed to work together with the government. In the case of online casino many efforts are being made to protect players.

One of the first lines of defence offered online is casino reviews. Online casino reviews serve to inform players about the online casinos: who they are, history, responsible gambling policy, security measures taken and games available. Player enjoyment and security should always be top criteria for choosing any online casino. an online casino review site provides players with a regularly updated list of recommended online casinos. With over 25 years’ experience the review site certainly offers players reassurance about choosing an online casino. When asked why they set up the site said “We chose to create this site in order to share that knowledge with you as we wanted to create a comprehensive and informative site that will benefit those that visit and play with those casinos we know to have made the grade.”

In terms of creating awareness for problem gambling bookies, online casinos and land casinos all feature appropriate advertisements. The most popular one being the “When The Fun Stops, Stop” advert. Readers might recognise the Senet Group slogan from bookies to online UK casinos. As well as being very catchy the advert also displays tips on how to stay in control. Funnily enough the tips include casino terms such as self-exclusion and setting limits. So in order to understand these terms and how to action them one would assume the gambling industry was involved? If so then there is no better demonstration by the gambling industry on protection measures they utilise for problem or vulnerable gamblers.

Whether the UK government chooses to accept money offered to assist funding of the almost £8-million-pound awareness campaign remains unclear. If any money is accepted even in part then should open the door for further good relations and co-operation in the future.