addiction seen as risky
gambling at online casinos) is likely to become one of Britain’s
most serious addictions by 2026 because of relaxed gaming laws
and new betting technology such as online casinos, the
Government has been told.
A report for the Department of Trade and Industry says that the
Government has not paid enough attention to what long-term
effect its new online casinos gaming laws will have on the
Britain’s online casinos laws, it says, will have problems
keeping pace with technological advancements in online casinos
gaming, including online casinos, spread betting, fixed-odds
betting terminals and betting at online casinos via mobile phone
These new forms of gaming like online casinos suggest that
gambling is likely to become a widespread and damaging problem
in the next 20 years. Of particular concern is spread-sheet
betting, which, the report says, can leave gamblers with huge
Jim Orford, the report’s author, told The Times that all the
evidence suggested that the greater the availability of online
casinos, the greater problems would be.
However, he said that the problems associated with excessive
gambling would be concealed for some time, but that in years to
come people would start asking how it had happened.
“The problems are not suddenly going to be in the headlines. The
effects on families, in particular, do not get much publicity,”
he said. “The Government, strongly pressured by the gaming
industry, has gone for a major liberation of gaming and
everybody I have spoken to thinks that will increase the number
of problem gamblers.”
He said that the Government had not seriously thought about the
health implications of relaxing Britain’s traditionally
restrictive gambling laws, especially that of online casinos.
“I don’t think they (ministers) gave sufficient attention to the
public health aspects of problem gambling, nor did they pay much
attention to whether the public really wanted this relaxation,”
Professor Orford, who teaches clinical and community psychology
at the University of Birmingham, had been asked by the DTI to
look at the long-term effects of gambling. He carried out his
study while Parliament was passing the Gambling Act 2005, which
lets casino operators expand their business and set up resort
casinos, to make it easier to visit a casino.
Professor Orford’s report says that the law has encouraged new
forms of gambling like online casinos and ways of accessing
gambling that are likely to increase the risk of addiction.
“These include casino resorts, gambling machines with unlimited
stakes and prizes, and British (online casinos),” the report
“They add to developments such as (online casinos) and spread
betting, as well as the numerous new variations of gambling,
such as bingo and casino table games, which are likely to
increase their addiction liability.”
Gambling at online casinos is expected to grow rapidly and the
report gives a warning of the possibility of legalized gambling
through mobile phones and digital television.
The study also highlights the danger involved in spread betting.