Public concerns over how responsible gambling and casino operators are with their ‘social responsibility’ are already at an all-time high in the UK. While the UK Gambling Commission is leaving no stone unturned and committing itself to enforce stricter compliance measures for gambling operators, a recent study from Northumbria University finds that gambling operators in the country rarely promote safe gambling through their Twitter handles.
Scott Houghton, a postgrad research scholar at the Northumbria University, has said the study was aimed at assessing the nature of posts shared and promoted by gambling companies and their affiliates from their twitter accounts. It should also be noted that Twitter is by far the most actively used social media platform in the gambling industry.
The study involved investigating twitter accounts of over 40 different gambling operators including five most followed operators – Paddy Power Betfair, SkyBet, Ladbrokes Coral, Bet365, and bookmaker William Hill.
Focusing on the nature of the tweets circulated by these operators, the researchers categorically classified them into nine different segments viz, direct advertising, betting assistance, sports content, customer engagement, humor, an update of current bet status, promotional content, safer gambling and ‘other.’
Upon analyzing the data, post classification of the tweets, it was found that gambling operators rarely post tweets which could be classified to be related to ‘safe gambling.’ Less than 2 percent (1.6 percent according to the study) tweets from gambling operators were seemingly promoting safe gambling.
Also, the study found that only one affiliate posted one single tweet which could be considered to promote safe gambling.
While there has been a lot of hue and cry reverberating about tackling the growing menace of gambling addiction, the study mirrors how gambling operators think of their social responsibility to promote safe gambling practices.
The UK government is already facing sharp criticisms for turning down the latest recommendation from the UK Gambling Commission which calls for a compulsory gambling levy. Earlier, conservative representative Richard Graham had also called for mandatory gambling levy in the country.
However, in their new national policy on gambling, the commission has made it clear that they are no longer viewing gambling merely as ‘adult entertainment’ but as a potential disease. As such this historic policy shift may be followed by tougher regulation equally stricter implementation.