It is easy to say one should be responsible for their actions; however, it shouldn’t be limited only to gamblers but should also be considered with equal transparency while discussing the responsibilities of licensed gambling operators and online casinos.
That said, it’s nothing but fair that one is to be held responsible for one’s actions, but being oblivious to other factors that inspire, trigger, and motivate or in other words manipulate gamblers to act in a particular way is not how one should be looking at the issues of gambling debts and problem of compulsive gambling.
Gambling operators should also be held responsible for all such actions which negatively influence the decision-making capacity of ordinary gamblers.
Change In Approach Of Gambling Regulators
In the past few years, there has been a significant shift in the way gambling regulators across the globe have been defining the responsibility of casinos and gambling operators towards ensuring consumer protection and creating safer gambling environments in their respective jurisdictions.
For instance, Spelinspektionen, the gambling regulator in Sweden, has been tough on all such licensed operators that allow gamblers registered in the country’s self-exclusion directory access to their gambling facilities. Recently, they slapped a six-figure ($321,000) penalty on Aspire Global as its subsidiary company AG Communication was found violating the guidelines.
The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) has also been revising its approach. While releasing their recent national policy on gambling, earlier last week, the commission said that now they would be treating gambling as a potential disease and that there will be more stringent guidelines for operators to ensure highest standards of consumer protection.
Also, last week, the gambling commission along with UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued letters to gambling operators urging them to proactively take steps to protect their customers and not just tick the boxes for the sake of fulfilling the compliance guidelines.
US Court Absolves Harrah’s Of All Liabilities
Amidst all this, a U.S court has completely dismissed a lawsuit against Harrah’s Atlantic City, which accused the casino of having opened its line of credit to a gambler by accepting cheques.
The defendant was in debt to the tune of $188,000 by the time he left the venue. The defendant claimed that Harrah’s should not have opened the line of credit and that he was suffering from gambling addiction. He argued that he has outstanding debts at other casinos and has been on a ‘central credit registry” and that Harrah’s were responsible for his gambling debts by allowing him to gamble on credit.
Harrah’s had given $160,000 on credit to the defendant against his cheques.
The Appellate Court has dismissed the defendant’s claims and said: “Even if he is a compulsive gambler, defendant cites no authority for the proposition that proof of that condition alone demonstrates incapacity to enter into an agreement to borrow funds for gambling. Compulsiveness does not belie understanding the nature and effect of one’s actions.”
Ruling in favor of Harrah’s the bench said, “We do not depreciate the financial ruin that may befall compulsive gamblers and their dependents. However, Harrah’s is in the business of operating casino gambling; the defendant is its customer. The relationship is built on enabling gaming, not withholding it.”
Operator Gambler Relationship
As you see, the judgment makes a fundamental argument pointing out the fact that the relationship between an operator and a gambler is “built on enabling gaming” and not withholding it, it fails to answer the underlying question – to what extent should gaming be enabled and at what cost. Is “enabling gaming” the only building block of this relationship ?
Recently, the UK’s gambling regulator has asked operators, and the country is looking forward to putting a blanket ban on the use of credit cards for wagering.