“If you think someone is an idiot you will up their limit 10 times…keep them playing and trying to win more money”
Lauren Cope, chief reporter for the UK’s Eastern Daily Press, penned a must-read column over the weekend on “how online gambling can ruin people’s lives” and “the dangers of online gambling.” The column’s most significant revelation, however, came not from Cope but from an industry source she spoke with for the piece:
“A Norwich man who works for a Europe-based online gambling website said…there were areas of the industry he felt uneasy with.
‘If you think someone is an idiot you will up their limit 10 times. That’s where there is a bit of an ethical issue. They won’t know it’s happening, but when you know someone is spending money you will invariably up their limit, keep them playing and trying to win more money. You can spot a customer who doesn’t know what’s happening.'”
The candid admission that online casinos up the betting limits of customers they deem to be “idiots” couldn’t be more shameful – or less surprising – coming from an industry that rakes in more than half of its profits from gambling addicts:
- ResPublica Report, 8/17/18: “The online gambling industry is an industry that makes more than half of its profits from those at risk and problem gamblers and is itself addicted to addiction – needing to generate more addiction to generate more profits.”
The whistleblower’s former employer, meanwhile, accepted bets from a 17-year-old who “took his life after losing a particularly big amount” using his sister’s credit card.
After this employee spilled its secret, the internet gambling industry now owes parents of kids and addicts answers to the following questions:
- What criteria are used by online casinos to determine whether a customer is an “idiot”?
- Of those placed on the online gambling industry’s “idiot” list – and then subsequently exploited because of it – how many are addicts? How many are children?
- How much money has the online gambling industry generated by shamefully raising the betting limits of those considered to be “idiots”?
- Are online gambling operators currently employing this tactic in the United States?
In case you missed it, read the Eastern Daily Press exposé on the predatory online gambling industry – including its dirty secret:
‘Too many lives have been destroyed’ – the dangers of online gambling
Eastern Daily Press
By Lauren Cope
December 2, 2018
By touching a phone screen, or pushing a button from the comfort of a living room, what started as a bet can today easily spiral into a gambling addiction. And regulation is struggling to keep up with the dangers of online gambling.
This weekend, we told the story of Steve Girling, a man from Costessey who pleaded guilty to stealing £1m from his employer to feed his addiction to online gambling.
He said that gambling became a way of self medicating to relieve other problems, and warned how difficult it can be to escape once in its grips.
He is not alone.
Gambling has never been easier – bets can be placed from our phones, or sitting on a laptop infront of the television.
The rise in popularity is reflected in national charity GamCare’s annual statistics for 2017/18, with 55pc of its callers discussing issues with online gambling. In 2014/15, it was 47pc.
It appears to be replacing traditional betting. In Norwich, the number new gambling premises licenses handed out by the city council fell from nine in 2010 to just two this year, up to October.
A Norwich man who works for a Europe-based online gambling website said while he believed there was a difference between a bet and a gamble, there were areas of the industry he felt uneasy with.
“You usually get two types of customer, ones who might spend a massive amount of money on Manchester United, generally quite good customers because they won’t win much, and then those who will bet on small sports and find an edge to make money in other ways,” he said.
“If you think someone is an idiot you will up their limit 10 times. That’s where there is a bit of an ethical issue. They won’t know it’s happening, but when you know someone is spending money you will invariably up their limit, keep them playing and trying to win more money. You can spot a customer who doesn’t know what’s happening.”
He said, at a previous employer, the team noted that a 17-year-old living in mainland Europe who had consistently bet large sums suddenly stopped. They later discovered he had been using his sister’s credit card, and took his life after losing a particularly big amount.
While there are regulations to protect consumers, and identify where their money is coming from, they are not always adhered to.
In February, William Hill was fined £6.2m by the Gambling Commission for not doing enough to prevent money laundering and harm to customers. In one case, a customer was allowed to deposit £514,000 over 14 months, because staff assumed he earned £365,000 after one conversation.
In reality, he earned £30,000 and stole from his employer.
And last week, the commission fined three online casino companies almost £14m for not having “effective safeguards”.
It comes after the government agreed to reduce the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) – often slot machines in betting shops and pubs – from £100 to £2, pledging to introduce the change in April instead of October after outcry.
Read more here