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UK Conservatives Invent Online Casino Problem Gambling Numbers

The Commission's assertion that problem gambling was dramatically rising because playing at online casinos has grown in popularity was dismissed as rubbish.

Officials within the British government clashed as announcement of increases in problem gambling by the Gambling Commission were disputed by the Department of Culture, which used actual research to derive far different figures. The Commission's assertion that problem gambling was dramatically rising because playing at online casinos has grown in popularity was dismissed as rubbish.

Conservative politicians had latched onto an arbitrary estimate that 7.4 percent of Internet gambling patrons develop compulsive gambling. However, an official government study shows that problem gambling constitutes only 0.6 percent of the population.

``There is no basis in fact for this claim and the reality is that levels of problem gambling have not risen since 1997," says a spokesman for the Department of Culture. "Whilst it is true that more people are gambling online, it does not necessarily follow that more are becoming problem gamblers."

The Tories would use the heavily exaggerated claims to justify blocking some online casinos from advertising, and making gaming licenses more difficult to obtain. Presently, sites can release UK ads if they are based in a country on the white list, but do not receive individual review.

Figures show over a quarter million more adults gambled on the Internet this year in the UK over last year, an increase of 5.2 percent.

Published on March 22, 2009 by TomWeston

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