UK gambling consultant: “80% chance gambling turns into the new tobacco”

By Owain Flanders

Speaking during a Bet 2020 online conference, gambling consultant Steve Donoughue made some regulatory forecasts in regards to the UK gambling industry.

After the Gambling Commission put an end to credit card usage for betting purposes earlier this year, Donoughue believes affordability will be the next focus for increased regulation.

He says: “We’ll have affordability; that will be the killer. I think we’ll have increased regulation and basically I think we will end up with a limit to what you can lose per month.

“It’ll be purely arbitrary – it will be say, £500 ($623). If you want to lose more than £500 a month, you will have to go and prove to your gambling operator all about your sanity, your wealth, your source of wealth, probably the size of your feet and what you like to eat on a Tuesday.”

Donoughue believes increased regulation stems in part from a new national health approach towards problem gambling.

He argues that regulators need to avoid placing gambling in the same category as alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs.

Donoughue says: “The idea is the more gambling is restricted, the more you will reduce problem gambling.

“There is absolutely no evidence that this is the case. Problem gamblers will then go to the black market, where there is no obligation to protect them.

“There is an 80% chance gambling turns into the new tobacco – with no advertising, real restraints on marketing.

“There is a 20% chance of nationalising gambling – one gambling organisation run by the state and that’s it.”

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