There are different social and legal mechanisms to prevent people from self-harm. Most are focused on public awareness and helplines, clinics, and reach-out programs. Others are a little stricter in how they address those who need help. Whether being stern or compassionate works better is a question for another day.
The UK’s Insolvency Service has shortlisted 32 individuals who would not be able to participate in any forms of “extravagant spending” over the next 15 years. The individuals had to file for bankruptcy due to their excessive gambling pastime.
Bankruptcy Due to Gambling Needs Addressing
As a result, Bankruptcy Restrictions Orders were issued to all of them, and they would not be able to gamble in the next 15 or so years. The decision is intended to help those individuals stabilize their finances as well as automatically exclude them from gambling participation.
However, this does not mean that the individuals would not be able to participate in gambling in offshore betting and casino sites, which remains an issue.
While the government has mostly tried to shift the onus on operators to be more responsible in vetting their customers, the Insolvency Service has assumed, for the most part, fault on the part of the individual, expecting them to avoid risky activities in the first place.
The case was commented by Mazars, an auditing firm, and its partner Paul Rouse who argued that such restrictions are only issued to individuals who have ended up bankrupted because of their own “reckless behavior.” Rouse acknowledged that the measures had been known to work, and encouraged people to exercise more caution:
“People drawn into risky trading or gambling must be aware of the risks these orders pose – it is not just as simple as declaring bankruptcy and walking away from debts they have accumulated. Any individual that breaks these restrictions commits a criminal offence, risking fines or even a custodial sentence in the most serious cases.”
Mazars partner Paul Rouse
This is not the end of the story, though, as the Insolvency Service will remain committed to looking up individuals whose bankruptcy has resulted from extravagant spending, and not least on excessive gambling.
More such notices and restrictions are expected to come in 2022 and to individuals in particular who have been gambling. The Insolvency Service will go after gamblers who may have taken loans to cover their gambling expenditures. A proposed draft of a new Gambling Act is expected to arrive in a few months’ time.