MPs implored online gaming companies to impose a temporary betting limit of 50 per day during the Covid-19 crisis, as evidence has shown they are pushing bettors to riskier bets in the absence of traditional sport.
With the cancellation of events like the Premier League and the Grand National, gaming companies are promoting obscure sports competitions, computer-generated virtual sports and online casino games.
An internal email from a William Hill executive, seen by the Guardian, advises staff to tell your customers about other things they can bet on table tennis and Japanese baseball, which are proving very popular.
The company has also posted social media ads from its U.S. Twitter account offering bets on international football action, the Belarusian Premier League.
Companies, including 32Red, advertise on Twitter to gain more personalization for online casino games, which have a lot higher addiction rate than sports betting.
Betway, recently hit a record 11.6 million fine for problematic game failures, and MansionBet paid Google lists for promoting virtual events, where customers bet on computer-generated soccer games.
In one case, a Spaniard who organized an international tournament for the players of the computer game Fifa went wild against the bookmakers for offering odds on the games, urging them to stop.
Gaming companies changed their strategy after the cancellation of major sporting events, which drove down their share prices.
In a letter to the industry’s trade body, the Betting & Gaming Council, members of a multi-stakeholder group examining the damage associated with gambling urged companies not to put the protection of their finances before the good- to be customers.
We are deeply concerned that as we deepen this crisis, more and more people will turn to online gaming as a distraction, wrote Labors Carolyn Harris, Conservatives Iain Duncan Smith and MP SNP Ronnie Cowan.
If the industry were to impose a daily limit of 50, it would be a clear demonstration that the industry is willing to act responsibly and do what it can to protect society and people’s finances, in this terrible time.
MEPs also called for blocking the opening of several accounts by customers and for quicker intervention with customers showing signs of gambling problems.
Experts have warned that people with gambling disorders, many of whom will be locked up at home during the coronavirus crisis, are inclined to bet on events whose outcome they cannot estimate.
Matt Gaskell, clinical manager of northern NHS gambling clinics, said: In our clinics, some of the most dangerous games of chance are those that diversify to bet on things that our patients ignore.
The industry continues to do everything in its power to increase profits, keep players immersed and in continuous play, at the expense of people’s lives.
Harris said: If they target someone to bet on this type of sport or on computer-generated events, it can only be because that person is a problem, to play on something obscure.
It is the industry trying to take advantage of a national disaster, encouraging problem gambling with reckless and reckless behavior.
Co-Chair Duncan Smith added: It is quite appalling that in the midst of all this hardship and suffering, the gaming companies are so desperate to make sure that those who gamble can keep throwing away their money that they run them towards all kinds of unknown people. and little watched sports.
Industry workers were also concerned that the stores would remain open too long before Boris Johnson ordered them to close.
In the same email that gave advice on sports to bet on, sent last week, staff at William Hill were told that business is going on as usual in the bookmakers’ street stores.
The government had previously advised people against gathering in social spaces such as bars and restaurants.
Rival Betfred has also been criticized for continuing to welcome customers to stores, potentially putting staff and players at risk.
A Betfred employee, who requested anonymity, said that staff had been informed that they would get a hand sanitizer but that they would not be arriving for a while.
There were no gloves or anything like that and we had to clean the shops and clean the pens that people use to write down bets.
I was sitting in there and it was all the old people who came into the store, the over 70s stayed there for centuries, and it just seemed crazy.
The staff were worried because they had nannies and grandfathers and there were sick people in their families. It just feels like fertile ground for that.
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