The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has said that the industry must do more to tackle issues related to problem gambling.
The national regulatory body recently undertook a review of gambling across Great Britain, focusing on rates of participation, at-risk gambling and problem gambling, and explored the associated characteristics and behaviours.
Tim Miller, executive director of the UKGC, said the report found that operators must take further action to ensure they are properly addressing problem gambling, adding that the “pace of change” has not been fast enough.
“Whilst overall problem gambling rates in Britain have remained statistically stable, our research suggests that in excess of two million people are at-risk or classed as problem gamblers, with very many more impacted by the wider consequences of gambling-related harm,” Miller said.
“We have a clear commitment to make gambling fairer and safer and these figures show that this is a significant challenge.
“Success will depend upon us, the industry, government and others, all working together with a shared purpose to protect consumers.
“The pace of change to date simply hasn’t been fast enough – more needs to be done to address problem gambling.”
Chris Kelly, chairman of the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board, which serves as the UKGC’s expert advisor for research, education and treatment, agreed with Miller in that operators have a responsibility to protect customers from harm.
Kelly said: “These new findings show that gambling continues to cause harm to a significant number of people in Great Britain; they underline the importance of the National Responsible Gambling Strategy being pursued with vigour by everyone with a role to play in its delivery.
“The Responsible Gambling Strategy Board’s published assessment of progress with the first year of the Strategy identified a number of priority actions where more can and should be done.
“Gambling operators have a responsibility for leading a large part of this agenda and need to demonstrate they are making a positive impact through their work to protect customers and promote safe play.”