SBC’s Year In Review: January 2019’s big betting news

As 2019 comes to a close, SBC looks back on the year to highlight major news that you might have missed in the sports betting world. 

This inaugural edition looks at January and more specifically at Insider Sport’s take on football’s 3pm blackout, GambleAware’s backing of self-exclusion, David Clifton’s sports betting predictions for the year and the UK high-street bank plans to allow customers to control and block particular payments via mobile applications. 

InsiderSport: Is it time to eradicate football’s ‘3pm blackout’?

Introduced in the 1950s, the rule came about as the Football Association (FA) sought to protect attendances at English football league fixtures. This was an era where 90% of the games were played on Saturdays in the mid-afternoon.

The rule means that no live football is allowed to be broadcast on English television between 2:45pm – 5:15pm on Saturdays. However, with the globalisation of the game, the only countries where such a law is still implemented today are England, Scotland and Montenegro.

The other reason the FA saw the regulation as crucial was to help preserve grassroots football. It was in the hope that more young players and amateurs would continue playing in the district leagues if the appeal of live football on TV was removed during this time. An old but noble reason.

The subject once again kicked off in the UK just three months ago when OTT platform and newcomer to the UK sports broadcasting scene, Eleven Sports, opted to defy the law and showed two live Spanish La Liga fixtures during the blackout period.

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GambleAware backs Self Exclusion amid political reprieve

Industry charity GambleAware has reaffirmed its support of the nationwide self-exclusion scheme GamStop amid reports that the scheme had been breached by problem gamblers.

Entering 2019, the betting industry got off to a rocky start after BBC five live reports revealed that gamblers registered with the self-exclusion scheme were able to alter details provided at registration, allowing the continuation of gambling activity. 

Marc Etches, CEO of GambleAware, emphasised the need for self-exclusion tools to operate without fault: “Self-exclusion can be a last resort for people who are struggling with their gambling, which is why it is essential tools such as GamStop operate effectively. 

“Also, blocking software such as Gamban can be an effective tool to help those at risk of getting into difficulties resist the ubiquitous gambling adverts and special offers that surround us these days.

“Such tools work best as part of a treatment package tailored to the individual rather than being effective in isolation. If you’re worried about your or a loved ones gambling, there is free help and advice available online at BeGambleAware.org”

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David Clifton – Licensing expert – Crystal ball gazing for 2019

I have dusted down my crystal ball. It may be a bit cloudy in areas, with perhaps the odd crack beginning to show in parts, but here is my best bet on what the regulatory future may bring.

On the plus side, I do genuinely believe that:

  • Many responsible operators are already heeding the Gambling Commission’s recent call for “a race to the top” to put customers, their enjoyment and their safety at the top of their agendas, and
  • There is greater recognition that operators’ primary focus must be on what the consumer needs rather than merely on the minimum that the Commission expects.

With the above in mind, I confidently forecast that the Commission’s call for greater collaboration (not only in the sense of operators working in collaboration with their regulator but also in the sense of operators in different gambling sectors working together and sharing learning, insight and best practice with each other) will attract cross-sector support over the next year. 

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Three more banks develop functions to block gambling transactions

Three more UK high-street banks have announced plans to allow customers to control and block particular payments via mobile applications, following Barclays’ lead.

Lloyds, Santander, and RBS have approved proposals to develop payment-blocking functions that are set to affect transactions made in high street bookmakers and online betting sites and provide greater protections to those who have an issue with compulsive gambling.

The move comes after Barclays announced back in December a plan to integrate a ‘gambling block’ component across its customer-facing digital platforms.

The trio will update mobile banking apps in order to ensure customers are able to take control over when and where money can be spent. 

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