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More evidence emerged this week that problem gambling is becoming the biggest threat to the modern gaming industry.

According to figures produced by the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR) the issue of problem gambling has superseded the consumer protection at the top of the list of concerns for regulators across the globe.

The figures, contained in the IAGR’s Gambling Regulation – Global Developments 2018-19 report, show that problem gambling is being targeted by 88% of regulators. That figure is up significantly on the last survey, dating from 2017, which showed that 82% of regulators were focusing on the issue. It has also now overtaken consumer protection, which is down from 90% in 2017 to 86%.

Among the other figures contained in the report is a drop in the number of regulators tackling gambling addiction, which has fallen to 54% from 59% and a big rise in those who say they are focusing on match-fixing and sports integrity, which is now 45%.

Tackling Crime

The report was based on data gathered from 44 gambling jurisdictions across five continents and provides a wealth of information for stakeholders. It reveals that the most common form of gambling globally is lottery betting, which is followed by casinos and then sports betting.

All of the regulators surveyed said that tackling crime related to gambling was a key focus. The main areas of concern in this category related to illegal betting, money-laundering, match or spot fixing, general cheating and gambling by underage customers. And in the area of funding for problem gambling projects, there appears to be more work to do. Only two thirds of regulators surveyed said that their jurisdictions had mandatory industry levies for this purpose.

The report also suggested that regulatory changes in neighbouring jurisdictions would continue to be a major challenge for regulators around the globe, as the processes of liberalisation and regulatory tightening continue to play out in major markets.

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