Last week, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) published data collected during a recent study, showing an increased gambling activity in the UK. During the pandemic, the majority of people who enjoy gambling have switched to online wagering, with many of them preferring the virtual form of the activity. Despite the increase in the number of active gamblers, the rate of problem gambling has remained extremely low.
Despite the results from the survey showing problem gambling of only 0.2%, authorities in the UK are still putting effort to ensure a safer gambling environment for players. Another company that joined the gambling block in the UK was Klarna. Sofort, which is the subsidiary of Klarna, is now enabling UK banks that support the service to spot gambling-related payments and deny them if a gambling block has been imposed.
Increasing Gambling Activity in the UK but Problem Gambling Rates Stay Low
The UKGC recently published the results of a study, showing a surge in gambling participation in the UK. However, problem gambling has remained extremely low at barely 0.2%. Every quarter, the UK’s gambling watchdog conducts a survey over the phone with British people. The purpose of those regular surveys is to reveal the popularity of gambling among the Brits.
A total of 4,018 adults who were over the age of 16 participated in the survey. About 43.3% of respondents admitted to having participated in some form of gambling, with 26% of them showing a preference for land-based gambling. This was 3% higher than the previous survey results, with the lift of Covid-19 restrictions playing a major role in that sector.
The survey revealed that 25.7% of participants preferred wagering money online, which was also the trend among British players two years ago. What was surprising was the rate of problem gambling among players in the UK. Despite a surge in gambling participation, the survey showed that problem gambling was lower than the results from previous surveys. The latest results revealed an extremely low rate of problem gambling at only 0.2%.
The rates of moderate-risk and low-risk gambling among British people were also very low, indicating 0.9% and 1.4%, respectively. Despite the decline in problem gambling, however, the UKGC considered these numbers statistically insignificant.
Rather than being pleased with the results, the regulator is determined to continue focusing on preventing problem gambling in the UK. GambleAware was also fully on board with this decision, requiring a 1% gambling levy. According to some estimates, the introduction of such a tax could bring the sector revenue of £140 million, which can be used to handle gambling harm. The mandatory gambling levy was only one of the six new principles that Gamble Aware introduced to combat problem gambling in the UK.
Klarna Joins Gambling Blocks to Protect Gamblers in the UK
Another company that also joined the battle against gambling harm in the UK is Klarna. The payment business subsidiary, Sofort, enabled banking institutions within the UK to apply gambling blocks to consumers using open banking payment services.
Thanks to Klarna joining the gambling blocks system, UK banks that are linked to Sofort will be able to recognize payments initiated from gaming or betting companies. Provided there is a gambling block, any bank connected to Sofort will be allowed to block such payments and protect vulnerable customers.
Alex Marsh, Head of Klarna’s UK division, stated that such a small update in the payment systems of banks and providers of banking services would ensure better protection for hundreds of their consumers in the UK. He added that open banking is increasing in popularity as it can reduce costs and create bigger competition. This is why the industry must act on time and take measures to protect UK consumers.
The gambling block was first implemented by Monzo in 2018, allowing customers to be in control of the time they spend gambling online. This measure was very effective when it came to the use of credit/debit cards. However, prior to Klarna’s announcement, payments that were carried out through the open banking system would often be excluded from gambling blocks.
Sofort, which is Klarna’s subsidiary, became the first company to implement the UK’s gambling blocks into open banking systems. The update that was first developed by Monzo and Truelayer will now allow all banks working with Sofort to implement gambling blocks to payments carried out via open banking by Sofort.