The executive chairman of Sky Bet named Richard Flint said that the entire gambling industry has not been supportive enough to individuals who suffer from problem gambling. He believes that the sector lacks the urgency to look after these people and, thus, operators must start providing a network designed to focus on the issue at hand.
The Supposed Network
Flint suggests that it is time for operators – be it land-based or online casino – to fund a network dedicated to gambling treatment. According to the executive, the UK needs a network of “gambling treatment centres.” But for this to become a reality, the industry should work as one and unite.
Apparently, the local charity called Gambling With Lives is not entirely happy by the comments of Flint and rather found them insulting. The organisation, which is known for helping individuals deal with gambling addiction, found the executive chairman’s words to be “hypocritical.” The charity said that this is simply due to the fact that the operator is known for being one of the main drivers of the industry’s growth in the country. It is worth noting that in 2018, Sky Bet reached a valuation of more than £3 billion.
Flint, however, is expected to leave the company in June. Now, after spending nearly 17 years as its executive chairman, he admitted that the sector is guilty of encouraging people to spend more money than they could even afford to do so.
The Industry and Addressing The Spread of Problem Gambling
Interestingly enough, Sky Bet is known for not being so concerned about problem gamblers. Sometime last year, they faced a whopping fine of £1 billion after failing to protect vulnerable customers. As mentioned above, Flint is aware of the mistakes (albeit not being particular) the industry did and its attempts to steer clear from the right direction. Apart from not doing enough to resolve the problem, Flint understands that gamblers must also learn to become oriented to self-regulation.
There is no doubt that problem gambling is a huge issue across the United Kingdom. As more and more people get themselves involved in some form of gambling activities, the spread of this addiction becomes more rampant. The gambling watchdog UK Gambling Commission, or also known as UKGC, has released a data suggesting that around 430,000 adult residents of the country are suffering from compulsive gambling. Even more so, these people are already facing the negative consequences of problem gambling.
The British gambling industry, on the other hand, also released its own data. Based on it, the number of individuals taking part in this activity has managed to increase almost two times in the past few years. 2016 saw a figure of at least 1.7 million, but this year it is already in 3.2 million.
It holds true that most of today’s gambling businesses, all of which operate in the UK, are providing contributions in an attempt to fund the largest gambling charity of the country called GambleAware. But as far as these donations are concerned, they still appear to be insufficient. Even GAMSTOP was provided with funding. By essence, it is a program specifically designed and released by the authorities to enable local gamblers to effectively steer clear from online betting platforms. This is done by banning themselves from the latter.
Problem gambling is indeed an issue that needs to be addressed. While it is affecting people, it is also birthing consequences that completely stain the reputation of the entire industry. As part of its goals to resolve problem gambling, the aforementioned watchdog has started educating people about responsible gambling.