People who enjoy the art of the gamble may spend time at a casino playing blackjack or roulette before placing a bet on tomorrow’s big games. The penchant for taking risks, no matter how calculated, puts sports bettors and casino gamblers often in the same category.
Sometimes, however, sports betting and casino game operators come to the same table for a common cause. While they all want people to gamble, they also want to make sure players and bettors fall into an unhealthy gambling pattern.
Problem gambling has become more than a governmental concern of late, as all parties seem intent on playing a role in controlling addiction and other problems that stem from an overabundance of gambling. The latest move was spurred by the UK’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) but already finds everyone from betting firms, online casino operators, and television broadcasters stepping up to make a contribution.
A lengthy review of the gambling industry is expected in the coming weeks, and it is expected to indicate that the number of betting and gambling advertisements on television has increased. In response to the anticipated outcry, two organizations are joining forces to fund a new campaign to bring more awareness to problem gambling. The Remote Gambling Association and the Advertising Association have jointly pledged £8 million to aid in the operation, and the coordination is happening at the hands of the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG).
The RGA and IGRG count numerous bookmakers, land-based casinos, and online gambling sites among their members, and the organized effort reportedly includes nearly every facet of the live and online gambling industry. All of them are regulated by the UK Gambling Commission, and the best new casinos in the UK are included in the effort as well.
Some doubt the intentions and sincerity of the collective. One skeptic is the Labour Party deputy leader, Tom Watson, who shone a light on the timing of the announcement from the betting and casino companies as suspect. He claimed the companies are pushing the initiative in order to avoid the government imposing tighter restrictions on media advertising. Some also say the groups are committing so much money to the effort in order to garner free advertising and positive publicity.
No matter the motivations, the problem gambling issue has brought sports and casinos together once again. Sports bettors and casino games players will all be targets of the campaign, which is scheduled to begin sometime in 2018.
The report’s final contents are still not known, and the information gleaned from it pages could be worse than expected. In that case, sports betting firms and casino operators may face demands regarding customer communication about problem gambling as well as deep advertising restrictions. Some anticipate this may be the case.
The end result will be more information for the general public, more attention to the industry from regulators and government representatives, and more cooperation between the sports and casino industries. Though competition is usually the name of the game, they will likely soon be placing the same bet for the sake of their industry.