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United Kingdom

An article in last week’s Guardian newspaper titled “Report shows betting industry’s reliance on problem gamblers” – suggests that the UK Gambling Commission is considering banning VIP schemes.

The report that the Guardian have seen, suggests that one such betting firm collected 83% of all deposits received from just 2% of their customer base. The Gambling Commission collated the data from nine of the most well known companies that operate and are licensed within the UK.  The article in the Guardian goes on to state: “The award of VIP status has been cited as a factor in seven out of 10 regulatory penalties issued to companies by the commission for failures to prevent problem gambling.”

Furthermore a spokesperson for the Gambling Commission is quoted as stating: “Operators must improve their interaction with VIPs and we have challenged the industry to make faster progress to improve how they manage their customers. We have also taken robust action against operators who fail to protect consumers and we will be even tougher if behaviour does not change.”

Commenting on the report, Carolyn Harris MP, who chairs the cross-party parliamentary group on gambling, said: “This report shows how completely reliant the industry is on people with gambling problems and that they are profiteering from them.”

“As the Gambling Commission has itself suggested these practices should be banned to protect problem gamblers and stop the transfer of money from vulnerable addicted gamblers directly into the pockets of the online gambling industry.”

Late last year, we also reported on Lord Chadlington calling for tighter regulation on the gambling industry, with the 2005 Gambling Act no longer fit for purpose.