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Responsible Gambling during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Stephen Aupy VP of Strategic Partnerships at Gamban, speaks to Gambling.Re on the remote gambling world from a safer gambling perspective. The remote gambling sector, like the rest of the world, is undergoing major change. As we are all trying to navigate around this uncharted climate, my current trail of thought regarding gambling addiction is that, whether in lockdown or isolation, players may very well find themselves vulnerable to online gambling. I would expect that more people are likely to present via remote treatment resources and helplines. Given the circumstances, safer gambling is even more critical to what regulators and operators in various markets do during this testing time. I feel that the industry needs to increase efforts on educating more of the public about the risks associated with online gambling and to promote safer gambling solutions. It is remarkably interesting to see what the interplay between land-based and online casino looks like during COVID-19. According to the findings of a survey carried out by Clean up Gambling in the UK, “The absence of opportunities to bet on sports indicates that they are resorting to online casino games and slot machines, which carry higher rates of addiction. Even among casual gamblers, more than half of respondents said they had sustained or increased their level of gambling” “The rise of e-sports betting is becoming of great interest.” I have been following various markets and am finding the rise of wagering on e-sports to be of significant interest. Due to the lockdown of sporting events, we are seeing e-sports becoming fast-tracked for wagering in multiple markets. It is my opinion that the links between gaming and gambling will most certainly make for a Molotov of problematic behaviours that will attract the next generation of gamblers. On the other hand, we are hearing about how different regulators are stopping or limiting the amount of marketing that operators are sending to their customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, I feel that these measures alone are still not efficient enough keeping an actual safer gambling perspective. COVID-19 has introduced drastic changes in online and I feel that the regulators should be more pro-active on addressing operators to ensure that compulsive online gambling doesn’t spike in society for their jurisdiction. I would like to see the regulators from various markets start to take the potential rise of problem gambling more seriously and start to underpin self-exclusion through the use of blocking software to really combat the issue.

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