British Medical Journal Argues Responsible Gambling Guidelines

British Medical Journal

The British Medical Journal recently investigated the Gambling Act Review, stating the gambling industry should not be involved with responsible gambling guidelines.

The Gambling Act review was recently completed in the UK, with the next step being a white paper providing details for reform. The report is expected to be provided to the public this spring. In the meantime, the British Medical Journal has reviewed the Act and feels that it doesn’t make sense to have the gambling industry in charge of responsible guidelines given the conflict of interest. The journal heavily criticized the industry approach to preventing harm and would like to see a change in how the issue is handled.

Not the Right Approach

The journal is not in agreement with what it calls a ‘downstream’ approach regarding harm prevention. Officials feel that the root cause of the issue needs to be covered rather than simply focusing on a support approach for those who are at risk.

The BMJ pointed out that tobacco companies are not allowed to create control policies for the tobacco industry. Yet the gambling industry still has a say in shaping how harms are responded to. Officials feel that a public health approach would be able to learn from research and determine how concepts like corporate social responsibility are abused.

In the editorial, the BMJ suggests that the law should be reviewed regarding gambling harm in a broader context then just gambling as a centralized activity. They say the industry looks at gambling as a recreational activity and it only becomes a problem when the fun stops.

The report pushed its opposition even further, stating that it is not acceptable that as the cost of living continues to be a crisis and we see families using some of the diminishing disposable income to gamble, as they are exploited by advertising that is persuasive, showcasing how a win is possible.

The BMJ would also like to see lawmakers ensure that the gambling industry is proving lack of harm as they say there is evidence that gambling is damaging to the overall health of individuals.

Will Lawmakers and the Industry Listen?

So far, there has been no response to the claims made by the British Medical Journal regarding the Act report. It is unclear if the remarks will be taken to heart and changes made or if things will stay the same. Over the past few years, significant changes have been made to ensure players are safe from gambling harm, but perhaps that is not enough?

Officials have cut back significantly on advertising allowances as well as team sponsorships involving betting companies, plus lowering the amount one can wager. The COVID-19 crisis led to many changes because there was fear that players would seek out gambling more due to being locked down inside their homes.

It does seem that operators and regulators are trying to come up with solutions to ensure that gamblers are safe from developing a gambling addiction. However, companies continue to be fined or reprimanded for serving self-excluded patrons or for offering services to an individual that clearly has a gambling problem.

Until this type of behavior can be solved, groups like the British Medical Journal will continue to believe that the industry should not be involved in dictating how gambling harm should be dealt with. It will be interesting to see if the report by the BMJ holds any weight and if any major changes will come as a result.

Associate Writer: Suzie has extensive experience writing on a number of different topics, but writing on slots remains her first love, and it really shows.