Research suggests UK gambling companies are putting customers at risk

By Gambling Insider

A report published by the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) has revealed failures by UK gambling companies to protect the welfare of their customers.

BIT’s Gambling Policy & Research Unit (GPRU) conducted comprehensive audits of 10 of the UK’s top gambling companies: 888, Betfair, Betfred, Betway, Coral, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, SkyBet, Tombola and William Hill/William Hill Vegas.

It found numerous examples in the design and operation of these sites in which the firms both failed to protect customers and actively put them at risk.

Areas of concern revealed by the GPRU study included the ease of opening accounts compared to closing them, minimum account balance required before withdrawal is available, lack of receipts for transactions and a lack of summaries of time and money spent.

Additionally, the study found a lack of age verification procedures, scarcity and popularity claims to encourage rapid and repeat gambling and a lack of information on losses during gameplay.

BIT CEO and GPRU Steering Group Chair David Halpern said: “Whether by design or market evolution, the overall message is loud and clear: gambling sites make it very easy to sign up, to bet, and to keep betting – but strikingly harder for users to find the tools to set reasonable limits, get their money out, or to simply leave.

“It is possible to design gambling sites and tools to enable users to limit harms, as some of the better operators show, but in the current landscape, as detailed in the GPRU’s Behavioural Risk Audit, that doesn’t seem to be the priority.”

BIT launched the GPRU in September 2021, with the aim of developing and testing methods to significantly reduce gambling-related harm.

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