Without a doubt, gambling in the UK is heavily regulated. Although gambling is widely accepted as a popular pastime, it is subject to a number of strict rules and regulations. Most of these are designed to help people gamble responsibly and safely, but some argue that these rules are insufficient and that gamblers are still at risk.

The Public Health Impact Of Gambling

However, the UK Government’s public health website currently does not list gambling. It is a public issue because even those who do not drink excessively can be affected by alcohol. There is a case to be made that those who gamble excessively and risk their finances endanger those who are financially dependent on them.

“Harmful gambling is a major public health issue that seriously impacts health in many ways,” said FPH President Maggie Rae. In addition to suicide and severe mental health issues, this report highlights financial, employment, relationship, physical, and criminal harms caused by gambling.

She then talked about gambling companies and how they encourage people to gamble excessively. We see that those already disadvantaged bear the brunt of gambling harms, which serves to widen existing health inequalities.

Listening to this argument, you might be persuaded that gambling is a public health issue. It is understandable that a public issue such as gambling irresponsibility is considered.

The Case for Individual Responsibility

Critics argue that there are already enough restrictions in place to keep gamblers safe and that gamblers should be held accountable for their actions. True, the UK Gambling Commission regularly updates and amends gambling legislation, but is it enough? For example, changing the minimum age for buying a National Lottery ticket or banning the use of credit cards on gambling websites, the UK Gambling Commission is certainly not afraid to change and adapt legislation as they see fit.

One might wonder what would be different if gambling was classified as a public health issue. After all, there are already rules and regulations in place, charities to assist those struggling with gambling issues, and steps to keep gambling issues under control. Many would argue that if the UK Government deemed gambling a public health issue, the gambling industry has no other options and that categorising it as such is pointless.

UK Gambling Laws

Although the UK gambling laws are not the strictest in the world, there are many measures in place to promote responsible gambling. Also, many organisations within the gambling industry work closely with gambling charities to ensure they are doing their best for their customers.

Like traditional operators, affiliate sites are regulated, so users looking for the best bingo sites can be confident that the site they choose is safe.

At the end of October, several changes will be made to online gambling legislation, demonstrating that it is taken seriously. New rules include classifying online slot machine wins and clearly displaying the amount spent during a gaming session. The idea is to keep people from getting carried away with their gambling. The new legislation also prohibits the use of auto-play on online slot machines, forcing users to manually click each spin.

According to Fisco. “A seasoned gambler can easily circumvent the restrictions. One option is to use a credit card-funded eWallet. Setting up an online account and funding it with a credit card takes seconds. The customer can then use Skrill to make a deposit or play at a UK Paypal slots site without the proposed restrictions.”

Gambling’s Future

Although there are no known plans to classify gambling as a public health issue in the UK, we can never predict the future. The UK Gambling Commission is already able to adapt and bring in new rules as they see fit.

Changes in the responsibilities of gambling platforms regarding who can use their site are likely. Many feel that encouraging people to bet more just to access exclusive levels is irresponsible. Platforms already have some responsibility to follow responsible gambling guidelines, particularly regarding affordability. If anything changes in the future, it is likely that online gambling platforms will have to play a much more active role in ensuring that these checks are carried out.

It remains to be seen if the UK gambling classification system will change in the future, but there are no immediate plans to do so.

Online media escapism is on the rise. There is no denying that the new digital world has many drawbacks. The internet’s disadvantages are becoming a user’s obsession. The internet has many benefits that have revolutionised the world, but we rarely use them. We prefer watching a random compilation video with no useful content over reading an article.

Unlike the social media bubble, our lives have chapters, and we don’t want them to be blank or uninteresting when we leave. We need to admit that we are addicted to social media escapism. We are unaware of this new habit.

One must solve issues on their own. Long term, it will be worth the wait. Stop wasting time on vital responsibilities and opportunities.