Study Raises Debate Prior to ReleasePublished September 19, 2007 by OCR Editor
As the Gambling Prevalence Study is due to be released tomorrow, the two political camps are already competing over controlling the public debate that will follow pro or con gambling.
The UK Gambling Commission, operating under the newly revised Gambling Act 2005, which went into effect earlier this month, has solicited a thorough study, defined as an effort to illuminate the current state and measure all future changes in its light. The study, titled, Gambling Prevalence Study, is set to be released tomorrow, on September 19.
The study is indeed highly anticipated. Earlier this month, some findings were leaked to the media, which had to do with the size of the English gambling market and paid due attention to the issue of problem gambling. The latter may turn out to be a large chapter in the study, with the Gambling Commission possibly viewing its goal as combating the problem.
Earlier leaked data suggests that the number of UK citizens, 16 years of age and above, who gambled online counts in the many millions; 33 million in fact. Of them, problem gamblers count a full million, an alarming number, especially when compared to the previous study, conducted 8 years ago in 1999, which found 300,000 problem gamblers in England.
With each of the million or so consistent gamblers spending 1,000 pounds on average, the UK industry is one of the largest in Europe and in the world. This is a clear enticement for the UK government to try and draw the site operators to the UK from their current offshore locations.
These seem to be the two goals of the Gambling act, the Gambling Commission and the Gambling Prevalence Study: regulate the industry while bringing casinos over from their current whereabouts, and combating problem gambling. The two might end up competing for attention, as the study findings may become the subject of polar views, conservatives hijacking the debate on the one hand and liberals on the other.
What will be of the public debate is uncertain. What is clear is that more such studies will be released. One was supposedly solicited for the year 2010, much sooner tat the previous wait of nearly a decade from the previous study.