UK Government Calls For Tighter Remote Gambling Regulations

Games like the national lottery and internet bingo have attracted more players to the world of remote gaming according to a survey by the UK gambling commission. The gambling commission released gambling statistics that clearly show a rise in remote gaming which includes games played on home computers and web capable mobile phones. While the figures released by the commission may seem low showing a 0.1% increase in remote players the number is proportionate to the rise in mobile gambling and equals 4.5 million people now using web ready smart phones. The UK gambling commission warned that as the number of smart phone users increases access to mobile gambling will also increase creating more problem gamblers.

12% of the commission’s poll respondents said that between September 2010 and June 2011 they had taken part in some form of remote gambling and 505 said that the National Lottery was their preferred form of gambling. The top forms of remote gaming in the UK are the national lottery and online bingo. Great Britain has the world’s largest internet bingo market and over 400 bingo sites are competing for British players.  The internet bingo boom has put pressure on bingo halls throughout the UK. Figures show that during the last year there has been a drop in attendance at local bingo halls. PCs, tablets, laptops, netbooks and smartphones have been responsible for the rise in remote gaming in the UK.

11% of the poll’s respondents said they had engaged in remote gambling and an additional 3.2% said they had used their smart phones to gamble. Gambling via a digital interactive television accounted for 1.4% of those polled. The poll also showed that over half, 56.7% said they had taken part in some form of gambling up to one month before the poll was taken. John Penrose, the Minister of Tourism and Heritage, has called for a change in UK gambling laws. Penrose suggested that all gambling companies and organizations should have to obtain a gambling license in the UK and be subject to UK gambling laws and regulations. Penrose hopes these actions will discourage problem gamblers and discourage gambling companies from taking advantage of vulnerable players.

Penrose explained his position and told reporters “The current system for regulating remote gambling doesn’t work.  Overseas operators get an unfair advantage over UK based companies, and British consumers who gamble online may have little or no protection depending on where the operator they deal with happens to be based. So our new proposals are an important step to help address concerns about problem gambling and to plug a regulatory gap, ensuring a much more consistent and higher level of protection for those people in the UK who gamble online. We will create a level playing field, so all overseas operators will be subject to the same standards and requirements as those based in Britain, as well as being required to inform the Gambling Commission about suspicious betting patterns to help fight illegal activity and corruption in betting.”

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