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The Role of Education in iGaming Responsibly in the United Kingdom

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The United Kingdom has one of the biggest iGaming markets worldwide. The real money gaming industry in the UK is worth over £14.3 billion and this industry employs around 100,000 people in the country. It’s simply no secret that the UK loves to gamble.

Now, a study in 2017 revealed that around 50 percent of the UK population gambles or play casino games like poker, slots, and roulette online. It also said that 450,000 of these gamblers are underage. This is why the national gaming regulator, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) are doing their best to ensure the safety of the minors in the country.

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The UKGC has been responsible for implementing strict advertising guidelines and verification processes for online casinos to follow. However, it’s not only the UKGC that is trying to solve underage gambling in the country. Last year, the UK’s Department of Education decided to implement a curriculum that would help the children understand the risks that gambling comes with. 

The program or scheme will be part of the Personal, Social, and Health Education or the PSHE and this was already placed in effect since September 2020. This is rolled out by the PSHE Association and according to their website, they are in partnership with GambleAware “to support children and young people to understand, and avoid risks associated with gambling”.

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More About PSHE and the Introduction of iGaming Responsibly

The PSHE isn’t all about gambling. It is a program that focuses on “equipping pupils with a sound understanding of risks and knowledge to make safe and informed decisions on adult matters related to ‘drug education, financial management, sex and relationships and the importance maintaining a healthy lifestyle”.

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According to the PSHE Association, they found that around 78 percent of primary teachers they have surveyed have never addressed gambling as part of their PSHE lessons. This is also the case for secondary teachers. This was happening even though the UKGC has previously reported that 11 percent of children aged 11 to 16 years would gamble every week.

When the introduction of the said subject to the curriculum was announced last year by Schools Minister Nick Gibb, he emphasized how there was a need for programs such as this. Gibb said, “I want to ensure every child understands the risks, which is why we are making health education, including issues such as addiction and cumulative debt, compulsory from September ([2020].”

GambleAware Director Dr. Jane Rigbye has said in a statement how children in the country are more likely to gamble than do any other activities that involve smoking or taking drugs. Dr. Rigbye said, “We know that more children have gambled, than smoked cigarettes or taken drugs in the last week, but very few have been taught about the risks associated with gambling and what the signs of problem gambling are. By working closely with the PSHE Association we have been able to better understand what works when it comes to teaching children about gambling harms.

“Gambling is a health and wellbeing issue which needs to be addressed from a public health perspective. The commissioning of this work has provided us with the relevant evidence and guidance needed to help teachers and pupils better understand the nature of gambling and the harms which can arise from it,” she further explained.

What India Could Learn from This

While the UK works on ensuring that the country has the safest gambling environment worldwide, it’s no secret that the UKGC is somehow also making things hard for gambling operators. This is why it’s not surprising that there have been reports on how gambling companies are starting to look for new markets outside the UK where they aren’t too restricted.

India comes to mind when it comes to this and why wouldn’t it? India has one of the biggest populations worldwide and Indians love to gamble. Last year, it has been reported that the gambling industry in India is now worth almost a billion dollars USD and it is projected to grow by 41 percent in the next three years.

While gambling, in general, is not legal in the country and there are only a few states that regulate it, Indians are still able to gamble online without getting in any trouble as no law prohibits it. With that, many online gambling companies see India as a huge potential for market growth.

Today, problematic gambling is becoming quite a problem already in India and we can only expect that this may be a bigger problem if online gambling remains unregulated. India can look into what the UKGC has been doing to promote responsible gambling and at the same time, they can start educating the children on the risks that this activity involves. 

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