Should bookmakers do more to help problem gamblers?
I just saw the following tweet in my twitter feed and almost spat out my cup of tea. Talk about hypocrisy. As part of responsible gambling awareness week, I saw a lot of the bookmakers talk about how they do all they can to help problem gamblers. This is utter bullshit. Their whole business model is based on advertising to everyone, enticing them in with a signup bonus and then only keeping the people they know will lose money (and many of these are current problem gamblers, or soon to be ones).
Are you concerned that you cannot control your gambling? We can help http://t.co/f7f5kBLElr
— Sportsbet.com.au (@sportsbetcomau) June 10, 2014
I have heard of the ludicrous steps Sportsbet goes to to find anyone who might win money from them. They spend millions a year and have hundreds of workers looking into every single client and if they suspect in any way they might cost them a cent then they are limited to peanuts or have their accounts closed.
If they have the ability to weed out the gamblers who will make money then surely they can do the inverse and find those who will lose and eventually turn into problem gamblers. They have enough data points to know the type of bets and patterns to look out for. Why then do they not do this? I think it is their duty to get in contact with any customer of theirs that is doing themselves harm by betting with them.
Instead what we find is a simple page where the person with the problem has to self exclude themselves. HA. That seems as likely as Australia winning this world cup. No problem gambler is going to set deposit limits or self exclude themselves, that is why they are a problem gambler. They have an issue with control.
A possible solution that would be easy to implement is to limit them the same way they do with profitable bettors.
Why are Sportsbet.com.au and other Australian books not doing more to help problem gamblers? My belief is they have a vested interest, by helping these people, they are harming their business.
Do you believe these bookmakers should be doing more to weed out potential problem gamblers and close their accounts and offer advice on how to get help?