People with a serious gambling problem place up to 90 bets online every day, according to an alarming new report.
The report, released by the charity GambleAware, also found that problem gamblers spend an average of £98 per day and were more likely to bet between midnight and 4am.
Remote gambling – using a phone or computer to bet or play bingo and casino games online – is reportedly the largest sector in the industry, accounting for almost £4.5 billion per year and 33 per cent of all gambling revenue.
GambleAware’s report was based on research carried out by the accountancy firm PwC.
The charity encouraged gambling companies to do more to freeze accounts or send pop-up messages to problem gamblers online.
Chief Executive Marc Etches said it was “essential” that the “necessary advice and protection” be given to gamblers.
Carolyn Harris MP, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs), said it is “an inconvenient truth for online gambling companies that such a huge proportion of their revenue comes from problem gambling”.
She added that it was not surprising that such companies “have moved so slowly when it is simply not in their commercial interest to do anything meaningful to prevent addiction”.
And Matt Zarb-Cousin, spokesman for the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, has called for the Government review of FOBTs and gambling adverts on television, to include online gambling.
Yesterday, it was announced that an online bookmaker was hit with a record fine of nearly £8 million after it failed to block users who wanted to stop gambling.
888 UK Limited allowed 7,000 customers to continue gambling on online bingo, despite having voluntarily banned themselves from other betting platforms.
It also failed to recognise the troubling signs of one customer who staked over £1 million. The Gambling Commission fined the company around £7.8 million for the two errors.
Sarah Harrison, Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission said: “This penalty package of just under £8 million reflects the seriousness of 888’s failings to protect vulnerable customers.”
She told the BBC: “There are around two million people now in Britain who either are problem gamblers or are at risk of problem gambling.”