NHS Asks Operators to Help Stop Vicious Gambling Cycle

Following on from the recent announcement that the UK Gambling Commission will be introducing a ban on credit cards as a form of payment method at online gambling sites from 14th April 2020, the Head of NHS England’s Mental Health Services is asking for further steps to be taken to reduce problematic gambling.

Claire Murdoch has written to five of the UK’s biggest gambling brands, asking them to take urgent action to stop the “vicious gambling cycle” that is gripping a growing proportion of the nation.

The Mental Health Services Head has written personal letters to the chief executives of GVC, Flutter, Bet365, Betfred, and William Hill to voice her concerns about “people who are losing vast sums of money”.

She believes that incentives such as free bets, free bingo tickets, free spins, free hospitality access, and VIP treatment may “proactively” draw people back into the world of online gambling which many of them “want to escape”.

Many VIP and loyalty schemes at online bingo and casino sites are directly linked to how much players deposit and spend. By offering bigger and better incentives to those who wager larger amounts of money, Claire Murdoch believes that some players may end up spending more than they can afford.

Mrs Murdoch says that the gambling industry should take more responsibility for helping to tackle gambling addiction, and “prevent the occasional flutter from turning into a dangerous habit”.

She also placed blame with betting companies that stream live matches. It is commonly referred to in the industry as “Bet to view” and requires sports fans to place a bet to be able to watch matches.

Currently, the UK Gambling Commission is investigating a Bet to View arrangement that the FA has agreed with Coral, Unibet, Paddy Power, Ladbrokes, William Hill, Betfair, and Bet365, which will allow punters to pay to watch live FA Cup ties.

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