Wrong Month to Quit: The Pragmatism of A New Perspective on UK Gambling Policy Rings OutPublished April 30, 2020 by Lee R
Gaming in the UK is stringent, but should be wise not drive addicted players away, says one expert.
A telling comparison has been drawn conceptually between gambling in the UK and another addictive but legal activity.
Gaming in Your Eyes?
Gambling consultant Steve Donoughue recently offered some regulatory forecasts while speaking at a Bet 2020 conference, and drew an eye-catching parallel: smoking.
Monthly Loss Limits
The facilitation of compulsive behavior was foremost on Donoughue's mind for his allegory, as far as setting limits on how much any gamer could lose in a given month:
“I think we’ll have increased regulation and...end up with a limit to what you can lose per month.”
Donoughue used £500 ($623) for context, saying that those who seek to lose more per month should be required to prove to the gambling operator “your sanity, your wealth, your source of wealth, probably the size of your feet and what you like to eat on a Tuesday.”
While that may sound lugubrious, Donoughue is making a greater point as he calls for a revamped national health approach towards the industry: the categorical separation of gambling policy from society's other addictive activities like alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs.
De-Stigmatise, Don't Repress
Bringing repressive attitudes from other vices will have a reverse effect on gamblers, according to Donoughue, because “problem gamblers will then go to the black market, where there is no obligation to protect them,” concluding that “there is an 80% chance gambling turns into the new tobacco – with no advertising, real restraints on marketing.”
By this reasoning, the treatment of gambling as illicit behavior by the forces that be threatens to stigmatise players in the manner of other those addicted to substances would not make people quit or curtail behavior but drive it underground away from regulation.
Procedural guidelines such as monthly loss caps and an appeals process no matter how complicated represent ways to integrate gambling addiction treatment into the mainstream industry as preferable to stigmatisation or expulsion.