Time For Change? The Betting and Gaming Council Under The Microscope
While it may appear to provide the representation the industry needs, the approach of BGC may need some solid changes.
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has released some encouraging figures lately and even made claims that may have given a positive picture of the current situation vis-à-vis responsible gambling. However, it’s fair to say that many bodies like BGC and other industry associations tend to overstate their own achievements and their significance in the grand scheme of things. While it may appear to provide the representation the industry needs, the approach of BGC may need some solid changes.
Reported Data Tend To Be Misleading
BGC has reported, lately, that problem gambling has dropped from 0.3% in 2021 to 0.2% in 2022. The BGC obtained its data from the Gambling Commission. Now, the Commission had stated that problem gambling rates, based on this set of data, are stable. But there’s a difference between data that indicate a drop – as reported by BGC – and data that simply indicate stability, as per Commission’s actual report.
Where’s the catch? It’s in the decimal places, which makes a huge difference to the actual findings. You see, if you get hold of the Commission datasheet and examine the table showing the percentage of problem gamblers from the year December 2022, it does indeed state 0.2%. And the cell indicating problem gambling rates for the year 2021 is also 0.3%, as reported. However, if you click to see the real figures, the 0.2% is in fact 0.243% and the 0.3% is actually 0.288%. That’s only a difference of 0.045% – clearly, that’s not even half of the 0.1% that’s been reported by BGC!
Another numerical anomaly in the release is the claim that “just under half of all UK adults enjoy a bet each month”, which is equivalent to roughly 22.5 million individuals. However, considering that there are 53 million UK residents aged 18 or above, half of them would be 26.5 million, which is a difference of four million. Therefore, describing the amount as “just under half of all UK adults” is a far cry from the actual figures. This misreporting is further evidence of corrupted data, where numbers are adapted according to a pre-set agenda rather than communicated in accordance with what the figures are truly showing.
Problems With Survey Methodology
The data gleaned from the Gambling Commission is noteworthy. It’s from a quarterly phone survey of approximately 4,000 individuals, selected to include a broad representation of the UK population.
However, the survey includes participants as young as 16, whereas the legal age for gambling in the UK is 18. This immediately presents a problem with the data especially since the survey data for “16-24 year-olds” are combined into a single group in their Excel statistics. This, no doubt, compromises the accuracy of the data. While it’s possible that some 16-year-olds may engage in gambling, why not survey individuals as young as eight years old and include illegal gamblers in a separate group?
This approach further skews the quality of data reporting, which is especially problematic when it comes to addressing problem gambling, the most significant criticism of the industry. It’s crucial to have accurate data sets that include problem gamblers; otherwise, we cannot address the issue properly.
The Validity of The BGC
In reality, regulation is the main driving force that guarantees player protection. The BCG does not seem to have much jurisdictive capacity, since it does not enforce specific programs for the sector.
As an organization, it has become apparent that its role is to ‘speak for’ groups with contradictory needs. Yes, there are plenty of operators offering great deals, such as Dr Slot no deposit bonuses – but at which point do the interests of an organization that stands for social responsibility align with those of online casino and sportsbook providers?
Like any other industry trade association, the BGC has a vested interest in promoting the interests of its members, which can sometimes come into conflict with the interests of consumers or the general public.
Although it has taken steps to promote responsible gambling and protect consumers, including implementing a code of conduct for its members, the BGC needs to change its approach, at least in certain areas. One of them is the accuracy of reported data and the other is its proactiveness to addressing gambling and protecting vulnerable consumers.
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