According to research, in excess of 40 percent of the population in the UK like to gamble regularly, with an alarming amount dealing with serious gambling addictions, though it begs the question why it is such a draw in the UK.
Gambling is and always has been prevalent in the UK. The British attitude towards gambling has always been predicated on the classic ‘get rich quick’ mentality – effectively an easy buck.
Especially popular among the working classes, mainly the male population, striving to get ahead and improve their lives, the promise and illusion of the big pay-off has kept bookmakers in business ever since they started.
The industry was one of the biggest growing in the UK during the 20th century and with the explosion of the online gambling world which has opened the door to countless other online gambling businesses, this continues to grow.
Advertising has grown to a point where everywhere virtually every commodity is sponsored by a gambling company, not least sports entities (football clubs especially) in which their biggest target market lingers.
Draw to an attractive lifestyle
With the UK being one of the most expensive countries in the world to live and a huge disparity in regards to the average living wage, for some, gambling is the only answer to try and get even just a little bit ahead.
It also provides the excitement that most ‘gamblers’ crave as a variety to their typically mundane every day routine; an easy trap to fall into if you are desperate for a way to get ahead.
While there are some who experience the big payoff to the extent where they can live comfortably, by then it is already too late. Drawn to the feeling of euphoria and the highs that winning big sums bring, the majority often fall into the trap of invulnerability. Sometimes fueled by alcohol, which doesn’t help in providing a short term feel good feeling, those who have won big often think they can’t lose and start to believe they are on a ‘winning streak’.
This none more so for gamblers in the UK. In a country where the weather typically is wet and cold for nine months of the year, which can lead to a feeling of depression, some start to think of what life would be like in warmer climes and as a result look to gambling as a quick fix.
Are the regulators fighting back?
While gambling companies now adhere to strict gambling guidelines, such as having the ‘Gamble Responsibly’ emblem emblazoned on their websites and the BeGambleAware logo, as well as being licensed by the UKGC (United Kingdom Gambling Commission), it seems that even tighter legislation is now being actioned in the industry.
Specifically for online casinos, which draw many people in due to their convenience and ease of use and which are highly popular in the UK, Bill Moyes, Chairman of the Gambling Commission is keen to enforce the fact that online gambling websites can do even more to protect their customers.
“The designers of games, for example, who help gamblers play the machines can build messages into the design that says to players that they need to take a break, you’ve lost so much or if you play this way you’re going to lose,” he said.
“Similarly, for the operators, they do a bit, but nothing like enough to give messages to players that say ‘you’re getting into dangerous territory, you need to stop, do you realise this is where you’re at?’
“That’s the kind of thing that we are really wanting to corral the operators into doing.
“Increasingly we want to see heavily researched work done and we want to see initiatives that don’t work dropped. We don’t just want people doing stuff for the sake of it and we want to see operators taking steps that are known to be effective to identify problem gamblers, to get messages across to them.”