Stewart Kenny, Paddy Power’s co-founder stepped down due to the industry’s lack of actions towards gambling addiction. He revealed that he left Betfair in 2016 because he saw the industry’s irresponsible approach towards problem gambling.
Kenny declared during an ABC News interview that he would like to see more action towards gambling addiction, but so far, his concerns were not addressed. And he also believes that the local gambling sector should get more involved in such matters.
Kenny also takes some blame on himself, as he did not see the harm earlier, but he believes that the harm done by casino games or pokies machines is greater than sports betting. And, as such, Kenny opposed to the introduction of pokies machines in Ireland, his homeland.
Kenny also added that Aussies gamble more in pokie machines because these games are widely spread across the country and access to them is facilitated by any local pub, becoming a social matter.
What changes need to be done?
Stewart Kenny believes that further regulations should be implemented in the gambling sector, and this is the way to cut losses for gamblers. He also believes that gambling products should be less addictive and safer, and also that deposit limits should be mandatory and implemented as such.
However, such a measure would mean that a new customer to set his limit when it comes to the maximum deposit of the day.
The former co-founder of Paddy Power says that we are to expect a massive backlash against the gambling sector if such changes are not implemented. And he believes that the industry will suffer from the same drop the tobacco industry has, after its massive rise.
Does gambling advertising have an impact?
Despite Paddy Power’s reputable influence in the European sports betting market, gained through the company’s unique advertising campaigns, Kenny believes that children were being hurt as a result. And he also spoke about the fact that gambling adverts should not be normalized for children, as they will grow up thinking that sports are normally associated with sports betting.
But he declares that only recently he has become aware of these problems, citing a study which reveals that 75% of children aged between 8 and 16 years believe that gambling is a natural part of sports.
Moreover, the interviewed children could name dangerously numerous gambling companies and they even recognized branding colours and even the specific promotions of every brand. And when it comes to cashback and refund, the perception is that gambling can have minimal risk.
Moreover, the gambling addictions rates in UK and Ireland are already increasing at an alarming rate, and there is a significant growth in the numbers of underage people who are gambling.
And while there have been movements to introduce stricter gambling regulations, companies in this industry have been fighting back, and do so effectively.
In the UK, the Labour Party is trying to eliminate the sponsorship of gambling companies offered to sports teams. Half of the sports teams in the Premier League have gambling companies for sponsors.
Kenny supports such bans, to stop normalising sports betting for children. And he also believes that, even though the gambling industry is quite favourable, it should also be much more responsible in comparison to how they are now.