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UK Gambling Commission Will Closely Monitor eSports Betting
- August 8, 2016 By Oliver Young -
The UK Gambling Commission is not only the organisation which regulates online casinos in the UK, it also a watchdog organisation and it cooperates with many other organisations like the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board as well as other Government and Non-Government bodies, trusts and organisations in regards to multiple gambling related issues.
Now the UKGC place focus on eSports, after it has been revealed that there is a growing interest for watching eSports and eSports betting. There is a worry that minors might be involved in eSports betting and the chief executive of the Commission has stated that both she and the organisation she leads will remain concentrated on this issue in the future.
There’s a Danger of Underage Betting, Chief Executive Warns
The fact that the new chief executive Sarah Harrison mentioned eSports betting in her first interview, speaks volumes of how important this issue is for the Commission. Harrison stated that her top priorities as a chief executive will include introducing higher sanctions for companies and individuals that fail to act in accordance with the rule and regulations, a review of all gambling related laws and provisions and tackling addiction.
Computer games and computer game tournaments are no longer mere fun as prizes at some of the tournaments reach amounts that go well into seven digits. It has been predicted that eSports will generate about £400 million this year.
Harrison stated that if there are any instances of unlicensed and unregulated betting on eSports, especially if there are minors involved, the perpetrators will face criminal action. And despite that she is still quite new to the job, several operators have already been fined with hefty amounts of money since she is in charge. Camelot had to pay a £300,000 fine for publishing wrong numbers for their game Millionaire Raffle. Gala Coral and Betfred had to pay amounts of £846,000 and £800,000 respectively, whereas Paddy Power were fined with £280,000.
Harrison claimed that this is not an unfair punishment and accented that the job of the UKGC is to make sure that the gamers and punters are safe and protected and that all forms of gambling are fair and free of crime. Protection of minors is an utmost priority.
The Status of Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals Will Be Challenged
The chief executive also stated that she is an advocate for review of the legality of fixed-odds betting terminals which are now allowed and located in practically every betting shop. It has been reported that operators earned a total of £1.7 billion from these terminals only last year.
Harrison stated that a reduction of the maximum allowed stake is one of the considered options when it comes to fixed-odds terminals. The Commission researched the issue and it turned out that about 7 in 100 of the people who play at fixed-odds terminals are people who have a gambling problem.
Harrison pointed out to the fact that operators spent only £6.5 million on important issues like education and tackling problem gambling, compared to a staggering amount of £120 on television marketing, adding that it is a problem.
She stated that the fact that much of the gambling is now happening online is a challenge, but also an opportunity as it is easier for operators to discover playing patterns and help people who might have a problem.