Poker Sites Line Up to Support Responsible Gambling Week

Responsible Gambling Week

Today sees the start of Responsible Gambling Week in the UK and Ireland, and a number of poker sites have joined to campaign to support responsible gambling.

This year, the second-ever Responsible Gambling Week takes place from November 1st to November 8th. Throughout the UK and Ireland, staff at more than eleven thousand bookmakers, casinos, bingo clubs, and other gambling venues will engage customers to “Talk about Responsible Gambling”.

There will also be a series of activities, fundraising events, and training programs run during the week by operators affiliated to the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG), while a number of trade publications, online platforms, and advertising agencies are donating advertising space to help get the message across – for example, visitors to London will see plenty of marketing activity on the Tube.

As the Remote Gambling Association plays a major role in the IGRG, its members – many of whom are online poker operators – are also contributing to the campaign. Several online poker sites have published pages promoting the event and offering advice about how to play responsibly, setting deposit limits, and restricting cash game table limits and online poker tournament limits.

How Bad is Problem Gambling in the UK and Ireland?

It is difficult to know. A 2017 study by the UK´s Gambling Commission (PDF) reported the rate of problem gambling prevalence for the UK at 0.8% – which is just a little higher than previous surveys conducted by independent researchers (0.7%) and the National Health Service (0.4%), and around the average rate throughout Europe. Ireland´s problem gambling prevalence rate was much higher at 2.2%.

To put these figures into context, problem gambling rates around the world vary from 3% in parts of Asia, to 3.5% in the United States, to 3.8% in South Africa (source), so it would appear the rate in the UK is not that bad. However, these surveys do not necessarily tell the whole story because a many of them base their conclusions on how frequently individuals bet rather than whether it is a problem or not.

There is a world of difference between an online poker player – who sits at his PC for a few hours five times a week practicing solid bankroll management – and an individual with a gambling problem visiting their local casino once a month and blowing their entire salary. The poker player could be betting 250 times a year compared to the gambler´s 12 casino visits. It all depends on how the data is interpreted.

Furthermore, there is a social stigma associated with problem gambling in the UK. Gamblers with a problem rarely acknowledge it – and are even more unlikely to admit it to a researcher over the phone when a partner or family member is within earshot. The likelihood is that – due to the volume of gambling opportunities in the UK – the rate of gambling problem prevalence is much higher than the 0.8% being reported.

Raising Awareness of Problem Gambling is a Step in the Right Direction

Problem gambling can have a devastating impact – not only on those who have a gambling problem, but also on their families and friends. So it is good to see an industry-led initiative to raise awareness of the issue and promote responsible gambling – especially at online poker sites where players can go on tilt, or be tempted to bet more than they can comfortably afford at the sites´ casinos or sportsbooks.

All the major UK and Ireland online poker operators have got behind Responsible Gambling Week, and you should be able to find out more information about their efforts to promote responsible gambling on their websites or social media feeds – the best example being the page published on Full Tilt´s UK site (may not be accessible to visitors outside the UK), which explains the mechanisms put in place across the Stars Group to safeguard against problem gambling.

Whatever games you are playing this weekend, play responsibly.