espite the growth of new forms of gambling - including online gaming and betting - the British Gambling Prevalence Survey 2007, released September 19, showed little change in the number of problem gamblers since the last such survey in 1999. Then, as now, about 0.6 per cent of the population 16 years old and above gambled to the extent that it produced negative consequences in their lives.
"This is an important study that provides valuable insights and benchmarks," said John FitzGerald, CEO of the IGC, "but the findings are no cause for celebration or for relaxing our programs to mitigate problem gambling. Even one problem gambler is one too many, and the IGC, along with its members, will continue with its efforts to ensure that Internet gamblers continue to enjoy this form of entertainment in a socially responsible manner.
"Problem gambling is bad for the individual, the gaming operator and the industry at large. Fortunately, today’s technology, coupled with a properly trained staff, enables operators of interactive gaming sites identify individuals that may suffer the harm of excessive gambling and effectively intervene. IGC members will continue to work with technology partners to refine and improve the tools that ensure a safe, secure environment for players everywhere."
FitzGerald noted that the Prevalence Survey found that only 6 per cent of the British population used the Internet to gamble in the last year. "This shows that a small percentage of the total gambling market is Internet based," he said, "but as that percentage increases in future years, particularly with the legalization of advertising, operators of gaming websites will have to be even more vigilant in conducting their business in a socially responsible manner."
Members of the IGC are required to abide by the organization’s Code of Conduct and Responsible Gaming Guidelines. Throughout its 11-year history, the IGC has advocated strict government licensing and regulation of interactive gaming.