The United Kingdom has long been one of the best places to be a gambler, bet on sports, or generally play the lottery. However, the warmness with which the country has been treating the segment may be growing a bit tepid, as MPs are pushing for stronger warnings about the adverse effects of gambling. In a series of proposed new standards, the gambling industry will be treated in a fashion similar to what tobacco producers receive in the way of regulation.
The Proposed Changes
Gambling companies may now face the same degree of scrutiny and oversight as tobacco firms. All future TV ads aired in the UK would have to come with a slew of warnings about the potential health hazards that gambling entails, the group proposes. The measure has been necessitated following the raising level of addiction across the country.
Gambling, MPs have argued, should be treated as a health issue and companies that operate gambling activities should replace the message that betting is fun, swapping it out with a warning that it may, in fact, be harmful.
Another measure that will clearly impact betting revenues is the ban on airing gambling ads during live sporting events as they usually take place before the watershed. A group has formed, championing the phasing out of ads in prime time.
Those Opposed, Stand Up
The current opposition is led by UK shadow culture secretary Tom Watson who is joined by former Tory minister John Hayes. The pair argues that the measures that are in force now expect the main operators, who are directly on the receiving end of gambling revenues, to exercise self-regulation, which has not been the case.
On top of that, the measures are also flouted, which adds an insult to an injury, and loopholes are continually explored. One particularly telling, and worrying for that matter, statistics has been the uptick in the number of over-16’s gamblers who have been diagnosed with gambling addiction, to varying degree.
The sentiment against has been quite against with some describing the fixed-odds betting terminals as crack cocaine.
The Cross-Party Heavy Guns
The new measures are in fact endorsed by cross-party figureheads who are willing to take on some of the biggest operators, including bet365 and others. A number of lawmakers, including Watson, Hayes, and Don Foster, formerly a Lib Dem minister, have pronounced themselves against letting up the rules on gambling and in fact introducing a number of measures that point out to the health hazards of the activity.
The United Kingdom is following in the tracks of New Zealand. The presence of words such as win and fun are considered to be misleading and therefore pernicious ways to enforce loopholes. Another thing that may now be coming under fire is the so-called affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing, the group argues, are entities paid to incite would-be and existent gamblers and drive them to wager. As the gambling industry is self-regulated, there’s more leeway for flouting the rules. This is precisely what the new restrictions will seek to address.