Individual rights are important. None more so than in how to spend our own money.
But simple freedoms are not always as simple as they look. Take gambling. There are few genuinely successful gamblers. And the unsuccessful majority includes a significant number who are addicted to the deceptive hope of that one big win.
Gambling addiction comes with personal financial stress and, crucially, real collateral damage to the families of addicts. Personal and social harm is destructive and extensive.
Gambling – a freedom and a danger.
In Europe, initial deregulation and a generally weak regulatory framework led to rapid growth of online gambling, both casino-style and especially sports betting. Gambling addiction is common, although in most of Europe it is no longer out of control.
In the UK (population 67.62 million) a 2023 government survey1 estimates that 0.5% of the adult population has a problem with gambling, 3.8% are gambling at ‘at-risk’ levels, and 7% are affected negatively by others people’s gambling. That’s approximately 4.7 million people in the UK dealing with a legal but incredibly damaging compulsion.
In relatively recent times, US Federal laws have been more restrictive. Between 1962 and 2018 sports betting (trackside excepted) was effectively illegal across most of the country. However, since a 2018 Supreme Court decision2, states have been free to legislate independently. In 2023 Ohio was one of the most recent to legalize sports betting3. Now 37 states, plus DC, permit sports gambling, with the majority also allowing gambling online.
Availability increases addiction
The result has been a rapid growth in sports betting; By 2021, the US National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG)4 estimated that 25.5 million adults had taken up sports and internet gambling since the law changed in 2018.
It’s reasonable to suppose there’s a parallel growth in gambling addiction. Currently Yale Medicine5 estimates that 1% of the US population is addicted to gambling. That’s double the percentage quoted for the UK. And that’s without counting the negative impact on their families and others.
The increase in sports betting is likely to make this problem worse. As in Europe, legislation to prevent and reduce addiction is probably going to be slow to arrive and patchy in its effectiveness.
And while regulation is important it can be clumsy to implement. Yet, if problem gambling gets out of control we should expect the lawmakers to respond with harsher restrictions on the gambling industry as a whole.
Prevention is better than cure
As is often the case, it’s third-parties who have the solution. At the heart of gambling is a financial transaction, so monitoring what happens to the money is key to tracking addicts and those at risk of becoming addicted.
The Compli suite of services from Essiell Compli provides exactly that safeguard. Compli includes real time transaction monitoring and a global person concept; this creates an individual person profile from multiple databases, making accurate tracking genuinely meaningful.
Compli’s unique capabilities also mean that co-operating organisations can share data – thus eliminating the risk of gamblers using multiple platforms to disguise their addiction.
Security lies in understanding the customer
At the heart of Compli’s effectiveness is a digital structure designed to deliver watertight customer onboarding and – parallel to transaction monitoring in the gambling world – the delivery of powerful anti-money laundering capabilities.
And monitoring behaviours associated with gambling does more than protect institutions. Comprehensive tracking means Compli can help communities and society reduce the damage caused by gambling. In the process it can lead to better research, effective policies and the rehabilitation of those afflicted by a genuine curse.
If you’d like to find out more about how Essiell Compli and Compli can help identify problem gambling and protect businesses, communities, and families, get in touch via our website , www.essiell-compli.com , or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
By Bjorn Larsson, Chairman of Essiell Compli.
2 Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, Supreme Court lets states legalize sports gambling (CNN May 2018),
3 Source – NBC4i , Sept 7, 2023 at https://www.nbc4i.com/news/local-news/first-full-season-of-sports-betting-raises-gambling-addiction-concerns/