Responsible gambling in the UK may just need another nudge to become what people want it to be. And yet, there are quite a few hurdles to clear along the way. While the level of gambles has dropped, the number of those who remain problematic has kept steady and that reveals a dangerous trend.

Overcoming the Problem Gambling Trend

Most people who gamble, do so responsibly. They expect to turn a loss on their investment, which is the correct, and better yet – healthy attitude towards the activity. However, there’s a growing crop of players who are increasingly dependent on their wagers turning out alright.

This could stem from a number of reasons, including, but hardly limited to one’s desire to be validated via a wager or the far more likely loss-chasing a practice that has pernicious effects on the individuals who are engaging in it. Now, the UK’s Labour Party is reconsidering how gambling can be limited.

Labour’s Deputy Leader Tom Watson has taken a rather hardliner stance on the matter, quickly dubbing gambling and the ills that come thereof as a “public health emergency”. Watson may sound like a worry-wart, but he definitely has a reason to be concerned.

Estimated 430,000 people in the United Kingdom are recognized & diagnosed as problem gamblers or addicts. That number is likely to be higher, although surveys don’t reveal much in the way of aberrations. More disconcertingly still is the fact that 25,000 individuals are said to be under the age of 16.

Chart a Future for the Gamers

Responsible gambling is now high on Labour’s agenda, although politicking has been also thrown into the mix. Mr. Watson had to meet the barbs of the Conservatives who argued that it was the Labour that introduced the new laxer laws concerning sports betting and gambling in the country. They have a point.

But Mr. Watson, a man of action and his word, has conceded that the laws passed back in 2005 were mostly overlooked insofar as proper regulation was concerned. Advertisement has been one of the contentious points of Mr. Watson’s offense. He argues that bookmakers have gone too bold in advertising without fearing any consequences.

He’s both right and wrong. Bookmakers and gambling companies have been trying steadfastly to create a favorable environment for themselves, but they haven’t been targeting underage individuals specifically for example.

Still, a recently pulled William Hill MarioKart ad could be used as an argument against. More worrying are the cases of casinos that knowingly allowed gamers showing addictive behaviour to continue playing. This was particularly the case of 32Red, a famed and respected operator which had to pay a GBP 2 million fine for having failed to protect a customer and allowing him to play for months before taking the necessary precautions.

Much remains to be done in the United Kingdom if we want to see responsibly gambling taking hold over the island’s population. However, this will require no small political will, which is hard to come by amid the fallout of Brexit.