Gambling Commission annual survey – key compliance themes

The Gambling Commission has published their annual report on gambling behaviour, awareness and attitudes and even though it suggests almost half of the UK’s adult population gamble, it seems that gambling operators have some work to do to improve public perceptions of the industry.

The Gambling Commission state the survey findings support their long-held view that public concerns are increasing whist tolerance is decreasing. 55% of respondents believe that gambling should be discouraged, 78% said there are too many opportunities to gamble these days, 69% agree that gambling is dangerous to family life and 23% even go as far as to say that it would be better if gambling were banned all together!

More people believe that gambling is associated with crime than the number who agreed it is fair and can be trusted. Crimes associated with gambling range from inducing theft to fraud and match fixing. Money laundering was also identified as a serious concern. Something that compliance professionals need to be aware of considering the 4th directive on anti-money-laundering which comes into effect later this year.

The number of people who believe gambling is fair and can be trusted has been on a year on year downward trend since the 2011 survey where it peaked at just over 49%. This year only 34% held that view.  Almost one quarter of gamblers who have read terms and conditions felt they have been in unfair situations. The most common complaint is having to wager certain amounts of money before you can claim winnings. Demonstrated by one respondent who stated; “The way the sign-up bonuses work. Too high betting requirements. I think they are trying to get you addicted to gambling.”

More alarmingly, almost as many gamblers didn’t know terms and conditions were available as the number of gamblers who have read terms and conditions. 56% of gamblers were aware of the terms and conditions but had not looked at them. The most common reason for this was that they are too long winded or too much to read. One respondent stated “I expect they are written in legalese and that I would not fully understand them.” The Gambling Commission are keen to ensure fairness in this area as demonstrated recently by their investigation into TGP Europe Ltd and Fesuge Ltd for unclear and ambiguous terms and conditions.

In addition to attitudes to gambling the report also looked at how we gamble. There is a definite shift in channel for many gamblers from in person to online. This is attributed to both existing gamblers moving from more traditional methods and new internet gamblers.

Home is by far the most common place for online gamblers to partake however with the increase in people gambling on tablets and mobile phones (33% in 2015 up to 43% for 2016) we also see around 1 in ten people gambling whilst commuting and also at work.

More than a quarter of gamblers take part in in-play betting and in the 18-24 age group this increases to 45%. The average number of accounts held for all online gambling per player is 3.

6% more people are following gambling companies on social media than last year however advertising remains a more common driver to spend money on gambling. Promotions and offers of free bets and higher bonuses was the most popular driver in this category with 31% of respondents selecting it as their main driver. This is reflected in ongoing conversations and regulation around advertising standards for gambling operators.

KnowNow will be tackling all of the issues here at our forthcoming events, Keeping Crime out of Gambling and Social Responsibility for Gambling Operators. Join us, be part of the debate and gain access to the latest practical thinking.

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