UK Gambling Regulatory Reforms
I realise I'll probably get a load of abuse but as a former gambler, I just thought I'd gauge your opinion on our reform objectives. We're not anti gambling we're just anti problem gambling and the lapese in the 2005 Gambling Act that had led to a 50% rise in Gambling Addiction.
Top of our reform hitlist is:
Banning credit card gambling. Borrowing money to gamble is a clear indicator of a problem
Bann children being allowed to gamble on fruit machine
Advertising - Needs to be balanced to show you can lose a house as well as win one
FOBT's - Introduce Pre-Commitment for anyone wishing to play High Itensity machines
A universal self exclusion scheme to cover all betting establishments
Anyway, I think you can see from the above we're not trying to stop anyone gambling, just trying to raise awareness and try and prevent some from flushing their life away but more importantly their families.
I know what its like when it comes to gambling. None of us never lose and anyone who get's addict is a moron, but we all know on here how it could get out of hand, I just ask for your support to help raise awareness. One day you may need us.
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I can't imagine why you would get any abuse, when gambling becomes an addiction and causes problems within a family then that is a serious matter and anybody that singles a support group out for abuse is retarded.
You do raise some valid points. Paying for gambling transactions with a credit card should be banned, however I doubt it ever will. There again I am of the belief credit cards in general should be banned.
Children are not supposed to play fruit machines. They are age restricted, well they are supposed to be.I can't however see how that can ever be enforced on a wide ranging scale. The practicalities of implementing that is just nigh on impossible.
Advertising, yes does need to be balanced, however where does that then stop. Should sweets and fizzy pop advertising carry a big logo saying consuming them will make you fat, lead to health issues and so on.
Should alcoholic drinks carry a warning saying drink too much and you may become an alcoholic?
If you try to enforce all gambling establishments to carry warnings on there adverts those same establishments would have a good case for saying "hey up what about other industry's", where does it end?
Self-exclusion, great idea. Exclude from all gaming sites in principle is a gem of an idea. However how the hell would you put that in place? Thousands of places for you to go and place your bet online in many different countries/continents/solar systems and the amount of shops cropping up is an issue to this goal as well.
Excluding from lets say uk based bookies is all well and good but there are so many others out there it is completly a non starter. If somebody wants to bet they will be able to do so with ease, even if they have self excluded from hundreds of other places.
I admire anybody with a genuine cause that try's to help people and I am sure your actions are well meaning, it is just that in all honesty what you propose is basically unenforcible.
I'll be really succinct as I can to your points.
1) Gambling is age restricted accept for fruit machines with a jackpot of £5 or less. Medical research shows that if you play fruit machines as a child you are 4 times more likely to have a problem as an adult.
2) Alchohol does have warnings, mortgages does have warnings. I see your point about the fizzy etc but the adverts do not suggest that drinking loads can enrich your life or get a dream life. Gambling adverts only depict people Barbara Windsor handing out cash or adverts offering £30 if you sign-up. We know you don't get £30 for free as you have to trade about 10k to get it and then chase the original £30 you wanted and lose £200.
3) Self Exclusion - You just need the same system as Spielers casino for example. When you self exclude from one, your card is excluded from all. Bookies already offer reward cards to track bets and as stated in last weeks parliamentary inquiry it wouldn't be hard at all for them to do it rather than fall back on the fact I had to exclude from 35 seperate establishments in a 3 mile radius.
4) Credit card gambling was discussed in the House of Commons and Louise Mensch MP voiced her concerns and backed our reform to end it. If you went into a bank asking for a loan of 10k as Liverpool look a dead cert they cannot lend you the money as its irresponsible lending. However u could go home and with the same bank put 10k on their credit card. Its still irresponsible lending after all thats happended the government should be stamping it out.
We know a gambler will go quietly in shame due to how society perceiving it as just a money problem and the addict will pay ridiculous interest making the matter worse.
Many many thanks for your feedback though. Greatly appreciated.
The main content discussed on this site is related to 'advantage play' gambling which entails gaining a (legal) advantage when gambling online for profit. This is not some 'get rich quick' gambling rip off / scam, mainly it is just a community of people discussing bonuses and promotions on offer at gaming sites - for example of the kind where you receive a bonus when you register.
The vast majority of people here will often only gamble when there is an edge of this kind available and as such have a very tight reign on their gambling habits and understand in some detail the way that bookmakers/gaming sites 'work' and how they make their money from 'mug' punters. Exploiting those offers aimed at mug punters is how they make their money.
Whilst your opinions are very welcome and the debate that has come out already between yourself and lotte is very interesting, please be aware of the audience you are addressing. By suggesting further regulatory reform of a nature that may impact on the user's of this forum's earning capacity for example (ie attempting to get marketing of bonuses curtailed), you run the risk of irking people and any useful debate will be lost.
That said, I think your comments about enforcing a ban on credit cards at gaming sites is not such a bad idea given that as it stands, effectively people are allowed to gamble with money they do not have. On this site the #1 / golden rule is 'don't gamble with money you can't afford to lose'. Clearly the worst thing you can do when you have no money to pay your rent is to borrow money to spend on gambling, so if that situation can be avoided then it can only be a good thing.
As lotte pointed out though, whether the kind of regulation required to bring about such a change will be enforced is another matter completely. The credit card companies have huge lobbying potential and anything that restricts their operation will be met with considerable disdain. Not to mention it would probably only apply to UK regulated gaming sites and not be a global measure. (I am very much with lotte as well re banning credit cards generally though! I think they're the work of the devil and have seen the damage they can do when someone gets into debt).
Unfortunately your ideas on global self exclusion - whilst very noble and agreeable - are unfortunately most likely unenforceable due to the way that gaming sites operate around the world. It is plausible that a 'flagging' scheme (similar to the way in which the credit checks work) might be applied perhaps just to UK regulated companies, but I think it would be a long haul to get it applied to all gaming sites around the world (ie non UK regulated) simply because there isn't the political will in the majority of remote offshore locations that rely heavily on gambling revenue as one of their main sources of income.
Another option for exclusion is software filtering (ie where the user installs software to stop themselves being able to access gambling sites). Again this is a rather poor option since it depends on the will of the person to actually give up gambling and if they are determined enough to gamble then they will easily get around any filtering software that is installed. Other filtering options at a higher level (ie at the ISP level) might be slightly more effective for a determined gambler, but nonetheless if they are determined then ultimately it won't work.
Regarding fruit machines - if it is as you say and it is legal for kids to play on fruit machines if the jackpot is less than £5, then I can imagine that being something that is disallowed in future reforms, that doesn't sound right and I must admit I thought it was just illegal for anyone under 18 to play on fruit machines.
In all of this though there is no mention of education - giving people the knowledge to be able to understand how it is that gambling outfits/bookmakers/gaming sites operate, how they turn a profit, what the risks involved are in purely logical terms (wagering requirements, effective value, probability theory, statistics, etc). If you can give someone that kind of knowledge upfront and explain it in a way that they understand, all things being equal they should stay clear of anything that is not profitable or in their interests (I say 'should' because addiction isn't something that is 'all things being equal', if someone is addicted to something then you can talk until you're blue in the face, if they're determined enough to get whatever it is that they're addicted to then they will).
I will remove any comment of teaching gambling theory in schools because that is clearly not going to happen and probably quite controversial (I actually don't think it is necessarily a bad thing though to teach kids about gambling at a young age so they understand the risks involved if it is done carefully - perhaps even alongside the kind of 'financial management' lessons that were introduced recently I think?).
I would like to think the approach that we aim to take on here - namely an ethos of treating your own gambling as a business, understanding thoroughly how gambling systems work, how bookmakers make their money, how they create books, what juice/vig/commission/overround is about, keeping detailed records of gambling transactions - I would like to think those are all the kind of things that empower people in a way that - even if they do have a tendency to gambling addiction - at least help to make people better able to take control of their gambling.
Fantastic feedback, munk.
The latest survey showed that nearly 100% of parents thought kids should be educated on the dangers of cigarettes, alcohol & drugs etc but only 5% thought they should be taught about gambling.
The Prevalence Survey released in Feb 2011 showed that 3.5 million adults are showing signs of problem gambling. Unlike the other addictions, gambling effects between 5 & 15 people closest to the gambler because they will often borrow borrow borrow until the house of cards comes crashing down. There are no outward physical signs for a gambling addict unlike other addictions and the first real sign to the family that anything is wrong is when its too late.
Sadly it is law for children to be able to gamble. We are the only western country that allows it and morally its all over the shop.
Your feedback is great though, gambling is fun and normal for 93% of adults in GB and they wouldn't be affected in any way by our proposed changes that will simply reduce the opportunity to flush yours and your families life away.
Look for example what FOBT's caused. Clustering of upto 9 in a high street so they can get around the law of only having 4 machines per shop. FOBT revenue is more than all other landbased revenue put together. At £100 a spin every 20 seconds (18k an hour) these machines were rolled out with no research or trials. People are dying (trust me) out there because of these machines.
I will wager (excuse the pun) that no-one here has ever seen bookmaker stuff intervene (which they should) if someone is showing one of the key indicators of crossing the line.
Your feedback really is appreciated and I wish all you guys luck in bashing the bookies
I take it you are aware of this (edit: never mind, I see you have submitted evidence to the committee, good stuff! Will leave what's below just in case anyone else is interested.):
Committee announces new inquiry into Gambling - News from Parliament - UK Parliament
That was announced in May 2011 - there are rumblings of UK regulatory reform to the Gambling Act which are wide reaching, although what exactly those reforms will be is yet to be seen. They're still in the evidence taking stage right now but there is a good chance a few of the things you mention will be addressed.
Gambling - UK Parliament
there have been 5 sessions held already to gather evidence by the select committee.
Last edited by munk; 29/11/2011 at 16:13.
Good research, Munk. We have indeed contributed to this and helped faith groups prepare. Louise Mensch asked the questions we wanted asking and starts of here if anyone wants to read the transcript:
Q497 Mrs Mensch: I am going to ask a few questions and time is really pressing, so I would be grateful if you could keep the answers short. I am going abandon, Chairman, the questions that are on the sheet and ask other questions because time is so pressing. Mr Wallace, in preparation for today’s session, last night I went online and read posts from the GRASP-Gambling Reform and Society Perception-forum. I think you asked your members to submit their stories to that thread so that the Select Committee might be made aware of them. These are stories of problem gamblers giving their personal stories and their testimonies of addiction. I had it printed off for today’s session, it runs to 31 pages. I think contrary to what my colleague, Damian Collins, says, there clearly is passive gambling, because the families and children of those affected by problem gambling very much suffer from it.
Munk, just for info on your credit card concern etc - the real point of this inquiry is because Gordon Brown imposed the highest licence fee for bookies so they all buggared off off-shore and instead of getting 50% tax they only get about 1%
As much as the government are pretending to be concerned about the 50% rise etc all they want to do is start getting the tax back. Currently companes are allowed to trade and advertise here, even if they're not regulated here as long as they're regulated to white paper standard elsewhere.
The government are simply going to change the tax laws so you pay tax on the basis of where the computer/user is based and not the supplier so if they're coining it in here, they pay the tax for it. The same would apply for credit cards for any UK based client. Even if they're using it abroad, the UK bank issuer would not allow the transcation.
Irresponsible banking is high on the governments list and this inquiry has shown support for banning credit cards. It's just a merchant code that needs flicking off, it wouldn't be difficult for them.
It's intrigued me since I first heard of plans to "simply" base tax payments on where users are based. How, by whom, and at what cost will this be policed? Unless we will be enjoying (!) chinese-style control of our Internet access, I cannot see this to ever come off the ground. And if, god forbid, the UK Government really want to waste money on such controls, people will just find a way to bypass it. The net effect will be just the opposite of the desired - - i.e. gambling will go underground.
Originally Posted by arnoldcob
I honestly think they will go for a straight lower licence fee of between 5-8% to avoid this or the industry are saying 'if you let us have unlimited FOBT's we'll come back to the UK because it makes things easier for them. How nice of them.
IP controls and addresses on locations is easy to define at little cost. All we're talking about here is locating from what country the bets are placed and who is owed what. I think we would all conceed that in this economic state its unfair for some international company milk our people and pand pay 1% tax. THey should cough up for that.
Gambling going undergound will never happen for me. Its always mooted by the industry, but again who here would know where to place £1,000 illegally on the 2.1 at kempton.
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