Drastic Measures to Prevent Problem Gambling During Lockdown

Online lottery is one of the pastimes that people can undertake during the COVID-19 lockdown. The lockdown has caused miseries to many people as they’ve lost employment. Such people may indulge in online lotteries to try their luck in winning prizes. However, what some bettors don’t understand is that betting is a game of chance and winning depends on one’s fortune. It’s, therefore, unfortunate that punters may go to extreme levels and deplete their savings through gambling.  

Realizing that many gamblers may waste their resources on gambling and leave their families exposed, some governments have come up with specific measures to control online betting. Latvia is one of the states that have banned virtual betting during the COVID-19 pandemic period. Yet, some online betting firms have asked their clients to self-exclude in case they develop a problem in betting during the pandemic.

#1 Prohibition of Online Gambling

In an effort to minimize gambling-related problems, Latvia has come up with a law that prohibits online betting to bring players in safer conditions. The Gambling Bill that was signed by the country’s president, Egils Levits, articulates various measures to curb online betting when people are in a lockdown.

The bill proposes that all forms of gambling and lotteries should be banned except interactive, numerical, and instant lotteries. The bill gives Gambling and Supervisory Authority powers to suspend lottery licenses for brick-and-mortar sites and stoppage of any electronic communication to clients. The law came into effect from April 6, 2020. However, the bill indicates that before the suspension of licenses, lotteries must meet legal obligations to their clients. 

Although the Coronavirus bill was to last up to April 14, 2020, there was a high likelihood that it would be extended for three months. 

#2 Recommendation to Self-Exclude by Gamstop

Some actors in the lottery industry are also taking a proactive role in advising people on what to do to minimize problems that may arise out of sports betting. For instance, Gamstop, which is based in the UK, has urged people to self-exclude from the lottery during the lockdown.

Members of parliament in the UK through a gambling Parliamentary Group have implored to betting companies to come up with a limit of £50 daily to cushion the bettors. The limit amount should be effective throughout the pandemic period. 

As a step to stop gambling-related harm, the CEO of Gamstop – Fiona Palmer urges punters to self-exclude from all online gambling sites including bookmakers not registered on Gamstop site during the lockdown period.

The CEO notes that some online bettors are vulnerable to lottery problems and may end up spending all their resources on the lottery. Some even may go for credit to fiancé their gambling activities.

Self-exclusion is an option that many online lottery sites have. Through the option, the bettor who is experiencing specific gambling problems may ask the site to exclude them from their website for at least six months or a year. During the exclusion period, the bettor can’t be allowed back to the site. The lottery website is supposed to cut communication with the gambler during the period.

Various organizations, like Gamstop, help people to self-exclude from lottery sites when they encounter a problem that may harm their health. The self-exclusion firm also works closely with specific bodies that offer therapeutic services to people who encounter lottery problems. Gamstop can also collaborate with banking institutions to ensure that they block any payments to lottery sites that people with lottery problems may initiate from their accounts. 

When consumers sign up with Gamstop, they cannot access gambling services in the UK from the registered online lotteries. The consumer may decide to self-exclude for six to 12 months. Some clients may even self-exclude for five years. 

#3 Credit Card Ban

Apart from the strategies used by Gamstop, other bodies like the Gambling Commission have also come up with specific measures to protect online bettors. For instance, the Gambling Commission has banned the use of credit cards when making payments. The commission has also partnered with Twitter and advised the social networking site to give users an option of limiting the number of gambling adverts they can see.

As regards participating in the National Lottery, the Gambling Commission advises people to buy the tickets online. Alternatively, bettors can buy cards from particular shops but must observe the rules of social distancing.

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