The last few years have seen a rapid growth in online gambling participation rates in the UK. Unfortunately, the surge in popularity has been followed by a rise in problem gambling rates, with more and more people being affected by the potentially addictive pastime of British gamblers.
Recently, one of the leading organisations that encourage responsible gambling in the country, GamCare, has released data highlighting a concerning increase in customers’ addiction to online slots – a trend that has probated nationwide concerns.
GamCare shared that its survey involved a total of 5,660 individuals who called the organisation’s helpline during 2022/2023 and mentioned online slots as the specific type of gambling service they were struggling with. Apart from that, 73% of the people who took part in the survey indicated that online gambling as a whole was a cause for serious concern.
According to the latest data provided by GamCare, which dates back to September 2023, the dangers associated with the online gambling landscape in the UK are getting more serious by the day. The charity reported a massive surge in the number of online slot addiction-related calls to the charity’s hotline, with three in five players who gamble online in the UK having sought professional support over the past year, citing their addiction to online slot games as the source of their issues.
Data for the period 2022/2023 revealed that about 60% of people who contacted GamCare’s helpline reported that slots were one of the main activities causing concern. This figure represented only a 1% increase on the statistic for previous years, it was almost two times higher than the 34% of people who cited slot games offered online as an issue before the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2018/2019.
Gambling Addiction Becoming Serious Problem in the UK, New Data Confirms
Colin Walsh, a manager at GamCare, pointed out there is still a perception that sports betting is the activity that usually causes gambling-related harm. He further noted that, in fact, people who transitioned from traditional to online forms of gambling over the past five years were actually the ones who were most likely to lose track of the time and money they were spending as part of their gambling habit.
Considering the general crisis associated with gambling addiction in the UK, the country’s Government has also acknowledged that problem gambling is becoming an extremely serious problem in relation to online slots. Currently, the discussions associated with the potential introduction of online slots’ maximum stake limits have been proceeding as part of the UK Government’s broader review of the Gambling Act 2005.
As previously reported, the ongoing consultations are taking into consideration an implementation of stake limits in the range from £2 to £15 per spin, along with some additional measures that are aimed at the provision of better protection against potential harms associated with online slot games.
While the data provided by GamCare only focuses on online slots, market analysts have noted that it was important for everyone to understand the border nature of the issue and the difficulties associated with seeking and getting professional help to deal with the problem. In other words, the recent report of GamCare highlights the serious nature of the addiction to online slot games in the UK, on one hand, and, on the other hand, provides evidence that the alterations in the gambling harm’s nature are not an issue that should and could be ignored by the country’s lawmakers and competent authorities.
As far as the future is concerned, the country’s Government will have to enhance its efforts and start collaborating with a broader number of stakeholders to tackle the more serious issues associated with digital slot games and online gambling as a whole.
Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.