Online Betting: A Danger to Society or a Personal Freedom Worth Defending?

In covering the unequal treatment of users and other misconducts and inefficiencies in the traditional gambling industry, it is becoming more and more common to see these issues used by gambling harm advocates or those seeking outright gambling bans. This in turn has led to tighter regulations and strong anti-gambling lobbies. Gambling Insider went right to the point when they released an in-depth article with the title “Who will be the first to cry nanny state?”.

Governments, gambling regulators, political parties, charities and anti-gambling pressure groups – they all have a vision for the future of gambling. Not only that, they also publish strategic plans designed to achieve their goals. Meanwhile, we the insiders, prolific producers of corporate plans, have precious little to present collectively. In the absence of a vision, it’s no wonder we are bent over on the receiving end. If we don’t collaborate, individual business plans will be projecting revenue decline due to ‘unfavourable market conditions’.

This has resulted in the implementation of intrusive measures and large amounts of friction for users in general. For many users who gamble larger amounts this has been especially apparent in recent years. Regulators have been quite heavy-handed in how they uphold these measures, forcing networks to abide by standards that can be quite vague or run the risk of facing large fines as seen here with 888 Denmark.

In a singled-out incident, a customer deposited more than DKK 1m ($148,533) into his account within three months of opening it. During that period, 888 Denmark performed various background checks on the player, mainly through open sources available online. After the player deposited DKK 600,000 into his account on a separate occasion, he was asked by the operator to provide proof of assets or income. Despite his failure to do so, 888 Denmark allowed the customer to continue playing for almost a month before his account was closed.

It’s not limited to just gambling either, a report on mentions how HSBC UK sent a reply to a gambling harm advocate where they used the broad definition of “speculative transaction restrictions”. Just the mere discussion using those kinds of terms is quite worrisome, from a personal freedom aspect.

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