The number of gamblers complaining against gambling companies in the UK has broken all records. Going by the stats, it is revealed that the number of complaints against gambling companies is not only at an all-time high but also risen by about 5,000 percent in just five years.
According to the Gambling Commission’s figures released and accessed by the BBC, in 2018 alone there were 8,266 complaints which smashed all records. In 2013 the UK gambling industry witnessed only 169 complaints against gambling companies.
It should be noted that gambling addiction in the UK has also risen sharply in the past few years. Most importantly the number of children getting addicted to gambling is disturbing.
According to a recent report from the UK Gambling Commission, the number of teenagers between 11 and 19 suffering from compulsive gambling issue has quadrupled in the past two years.
Commenting on the unprecedented rise in the number of complaints, Neil McArthur, chief executive of the Gambling Commission, said: “We are pushing the industry to know its customers, and part of this is actually, possibly, a good sign because it’s suggesting that consumers are demanding more of the gambling operators. And I would encourage them to continue to do that.”
Last week, the UKGC proposed a number of new license conditions and codes of practice (LCCP). It said that the new LCCPs aim at ‘raising standards for alternative dispute resolution (ADR), strengthening requirements on how licensees identify and interact with customers who may be at risk of or experiencing gambling harms, and improve the transparency of funding for research, prevention, and treatment.’
Commenting on the unprecedented rise in the number of complaints against gambling companies, Adam Bradford from the Safer Online Gambling Group said: “Today’s news is no surprise to me. The Gambling Commission’s shambolic behind the door stance on betting company issues has always been astounding and is allowing betting companies to leave further stains on our society. Every month as a group we receive hundreds of complaints from gamblers who have suffered at the hands of an industry which is not regulated properly.
From customers being allowed to bet unaffordable amounts of money across dozens of betting sites at once to being lured in by deceptive free bet offers which prey on the vulnerable. These people have medical addictions which forbid them from being able to control their behavior voluntarily and the industry is awash with bad practice which is fuelling gambling addiction.”
“Our own research, backed up by a study from ParentZone, found that 450,000 children aged under 18 play paid gaming apps or gamble with big firms online regularly, and spend anywhere between £500-600 a year doing so. We think these findings today show that a rise in complaints means the regulator is not doing its job properly and is failing to protect gambling addicts from predatory and unacceptable behavior from operators which is ultimately leading to cases like my father’s and others. The regulator needs to strengthen consumer protection now and set up a unit dedicated to resolving consumer complaints and rooting out issues in the industry, to inform regulation. Once we have a regulator whose standards and enforcement measures are up to scratch, backed up with the Government’s full support, we might have a chance of having a safer online gambling industry,” he added.