During the ongoing shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Gaming and Betting Association has refuted reports in a “explosion in online gambling” as “unfounded” and asserted that the practise is currently in decline.
Nevertheless, during this current shutdown the EGBA emphasised the importance of staying ‘vigilant’ online gaming companies in protecting their customers.
The EGBA stated: “Responsible and safer gambling is an essential objective everyday of the year, we all want a sustainable industry with customers that can enjoy their play in a safe environment. But it is now even more important as millions of Europeans are isolated at home due to the coronavirus lockdown.
“Thankfully there are many tools available to help gamblers manage their online gambling in a responsible way. But the onus shouldn’t only be on the customers, online gambling companies should also act responsibly and be mindful of their social responsibilities during these difficult times. Common sense goes a long way.
“That’s why online gambling companies should ensure that responsible gambling tools are widely available to their customers and these tools are visible, accessible and easy-to-use.”
Another such tool is self-exclusion that allows consumers to exclude themselves from accessing particular gambling websites, either temporarily or permanently. In addition, there are national self-exclusion lists that allow customers to exclude themselves from accessing any of their country’s approved gambling websites.
The EGBA pointed to the latest estimates of H2 Gambling Capital forecasting a 12.5% decrease in global gambling revenues in 2020 compared to 2019.
The forecast goes on to say that while the share of the declining gambling industry in online gambling was projected to grow from 13 percent to 16 percent, the reality shows the sector would fall due to the overall downturn in the economy.
In addition, the government reported last week in Belgium that traffic to approved gambling websites had declined by 38 percent from the pre-COVID 19 rates attributed by the government to the decline in sports betting.
EGBA concluded: “This is contrary to what many predicted and disproves the concerns about dramatic increases in online gambling, which have underpinned the recent introduction of severe advertising restrictions in some European countries.”