Problem gambling now regulators' biggest concern - IAGR report

22 November 2019

Problem gambling has replaced consumer protection as the main concern for regulators around the world according to new data issued by the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR).

Problem gambling is being tackled by 88% of the regulatory bodies who participated in the group’s new ‘Gambling Regulation – Global Developments 2018-19’ survey. That represents an increase from 82%, when the data was last compiled in 2017, and places it ahead of consumer protection on 86% (90% in 2017) at the top of the list.

Fewer authorities are dealing directly with gambling addiction compared to two years ago, with the number falling from 59% to 54%. Those dealing with match-fixing has risen considerably from 38% to 45%.

Other key insights from the report, based on data provided by 44 jurisdictions, include that number-based games like lotto are the most common form of gambling, followed by casinos, then betting.

Tackling gambling-related crime is a key duty for all regulators, with the top five areas of concern reported as illegal gambling, money-laundering, cheating, match-fixing/spot fixing and underage gambling.

The report also shows that around two thirds of respondents have mandatory contributions from market operators in place for responsible gambling programmes.

Looking ahead, the most pressing challenge reported by regulators is regulatory developments in other jurisdictions. Examples of this are the liberalisation of a gambling market or the legalisation of online gambling in a neighbouring jurisdiction.

Betting on eSports and social gaming (with real money prizes) were the top-rated trends in 2017, and are joint third place this year.

IAGR president Paul Newson said the results highlight common issues and challenges as well as some differences in the policy settings and focus of regulators.

“This is a tremendous tool to promote greater information sharing and collaboration around policy development and industry supervision where we exercise similar functions and confront common issues and challenges,” he said.

“Through increased collaboration across jurisdictions we can advance efficient and effective gambling regulation and inform a collective focus and priority where the risks are greatest.”

Regulatory bodies in Europe, Africa, Australasia and North and South America participated in the survey.