Gambling and Society – A True Overview

As a general rule, two things happen when industries enjoy sustained or exponential growth. Firstly, these markets tend to record a high compound annual growth rate (CAGR), with examples such as the online gambling industry growing at around 11% across the globe.

Secondly, these industries tend to evolve at a rapid rate, and while this creates opportunities for continued growth it also raises a number of potential challenges.

This is also relevant to the online gambling industry, with the UK market having been besieged by concerns surrounding problem and underage gambling in recent times. We’ll address this in the article below, while appraising the true relationship between gambling and society in the modern age. 

The Truth about Problem Gambling

While a great deal of focus has been placed on problem gamblers in recent times, there’s evidence to suggest that the number of people within this demographic remains stable for now.

Not only this, but the number of gamblers regularly playing games of chance has actually fallen according to the most recent figures, suggesting that people are becoming more selective when visiting virtual casinos.

Apparently, around 0.7% people in the UK class themselves as problem gamblers, with this number having remained largely unchanged since 1999.

 This is not only at odds with some recent reports, but it also suggests that the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has done sterling work in regulating the market more effectively and safeguarding vulnerable players. This was one of the organisation’s core strategic objectives through 2021, while some of their most recent measures are beginning to take hold as 2018 progresses.

 The issue of underage gambling is a little more concerning, with an estimated 25,000 children aged between 11 and 16 thought to have wagered regularly online. This represents a significant social issue, but interestingly this may have little to do with online casino sites that are typically well-regulated and protected by age verification systems.

Is Video and Social Gaming a More Significant Issue? 

In fact, video boxes are posing a more significant threat to children in this respect, with a number of high profile console titles featuring so-called loot box systems. These entities include completely random prizes that can be purchased for real money, while they can be utilised in specific games to help achieve objectives.

This is a form of skin betting, and while its status as a gambling practice can be debated at length is certainly raises the spectre real money wagering in an unregulated space.

Fascinatingly, video games are also impacting on social conventions such as marriage, with recent research suggesting that more than 200 divorce filings in 2018 have cited the wildly popular console title Fortniteas the reason for the relationship breakdown.

This means at least 5% of divorces in the UK are caused by a single video game, highlighting that seemingly safe pastimes may be more harmful to society than online gambling as a whole.  

The Bottom Line

With social gaming also offering children as young as 13 access to casino-inspired games, there’s no doubt that some of the social issues attributed to online gambling may be caused by other channels.

Not only this, but the heavily regulated nature of the UK gambling market and the customer-oriented approach of the UKGC arguably offers greater protection to society and its fabric, making it far less of a threat than critics give it credit for.

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