Retail gambling in many parts of the world has come to a standstill, a situation that has resulted in a massive surge in online gambling activities. The online casino operators have been making a killing since most gamblers have had to resort to online gambling due to the closure of retail betting facilities. While many of them have been operating within the confines of jurisdictional laws and regulations, there are concerns that are being raised over the apparent increase in irresponsible online gambling behavior.
In the United Kingdom, lawmakers have recently unearthed some evidence that online gamblers in the country are partaking in much riskier wagers especially because of the “absence of mainstream sport” during the yet-to-be-fully-contained COVID-19 crisis.
The mainstream sporting events being referred to here include the Premier League and Grand National both of which were recently canceled. Some online gambling regulators have taken advantage of the situation by intensifying their efforts to promote certain obscure sporting competitions, virtual or fantasy sports as well as online casino games.
Now, it is becoming increasingly evident that lots of people are very vulnerable at this particular point in time since they are trying to find distractions. This is what some online gaming operators have been exploiting.
“It is the industry trying to capitalize on a national disaster, encouraging problem gambling with reckless and foolhardy behavior.”Duncan Smith, a Conservative MP.
Needless to say, as the experts have pointed out, it is very unethical that some of these companies are taking advantage of customers in the midst of all the suffering and difficulty. While it is certainly important for people to have things to do as they self-quarantine, is extremely important that they are able to spend their money wisely.
As mentioned above, online gambling operators are still able to play significant roles by helping to keep busy as we ride out this crisis. However, there is a need for reasonable limits lest things get out of hand. Lawmakers in the United Kingdom are imploring the online gambling operator to consider imposing a temporary betting cap of £50 per day during the period of the crisis.
For now, there is no law that forces them to do this which makes the calls for the betting limit more of a request. Perhaps the MPs are working to make it mandatory but this remains to be seen. Hopefully, the online gambling operators in question will heed to these calls.
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom is not the only place where unethical online gambling operations have been noted. The Dutch regulator has also been issuing warnings to some iGaming operators that have been illegally marketing their products and services using coronavirus-related material. These operators are at risk of being denied licenses in the country or paying fines amounting to tens of thousands of Euros.