The United Kingdom Gambling Commission states that VIPs at betting sites are more likely to be problem gamblers.
UKGC Findings Show VIP Bettors Are At More Risk of Problem Gambling
VIP programs in the betting industry may soon be a thing of the past, due to new findings from the UK Gambling Commission. The study found that a large proportion of wagers in these venues comes from players who are enrolled in VIP programs, and are more likely to exhibit problem gambling behaviour.
According to data gathered by the UKGC, £4 of every £5 earned is generated by VIP punters. One betting site stated that only 2% of its clients are enrolled in the VIP scheme but they place 83% of the wagers. Another site noted that 3% of its players were VIPs, and they account for 48% of the deposits made.
The VIP programs available from betting operators in the UK reward players with a wide range of perks such as free bets, cashback offers and tickets to sports events. Players receive invitations into such programs after they have demonstrated that they will spend a significant amount of money on the betting site.
The players who benefit from these types of programs are encouraged to wager more, which could be causing them harm. The UKGC’s report has found that VIP players are more prone to addictive behavior that non-VIP players. It noted that 8% of the 47,000 VIP bettors in the country qualify as problem gamblers – 11x more than the rate of gambling addiction among the general population.
The UK Gambling Commission has made it a priority for gambling operators to improve the way they treat VIP players. This doesn’t mean giving them more perks, but ensuring that they are well-looked after from a safety perspective. Operators should be able to identify players who are at risk of becoming problems or are already engaging in dangerous spending patterns, and offer them the necessary support.
“Operators must improve their interaction with VIPs and we have challenged the industry to make faster progress to improve how they manage their customers. We have also taken robust action against operators who fail to protect consumers and we will be even tougher if behavior does not change“– reads a statement from the UKGC.
VIP and loyalty schemes could be a useful tool when used responsibly, but it seems that is not the case among many gambling operators at the moment. So, if these companies don’t change their behaviour, this could be the end of VIP programs altogether in the United Kingdom.