Clash over mobile phone betting

Mobile phone operators have been asked by gambling charities to call themselves gambling companies if they provide mobile gambling on their network. They are also being asked to contribute money to gambling hotlines and support groups.

“If Vodafone, T-Mobile and others are operating in a gaming capacity, they must be prepared to contribute to support services,” said GamCare’s Nicola Crewe-Read.

Nevertheless, a spokesman for Vodafone stated that the operator “did not see itself as a gambling company” and only as a method for betting and, as such, does not donate to gambling charities.

Mobile gambling is expected take off in the next five years, with the market predicted to be worth approximately £8.5 billion by 2012. The market is also anticipated to eventually become even more profitable than online gambling

This lucrative opportunity hasn’t been lost on the big mobile phone networks such as T-mobile and Vodafone, who will both sign deals with mobile gaming providers.

T-Mobile’s deal with Cecure Gaming will see casino games and poker brought to the T-Mobile platform with Cecure also signing a deal with Vodafone to provide a new blackjack game.

However, the ease at which people can now gamble has caused concern amongst the gambling charities who are worried that as the market matures, more problem gamblers may develop in time.

“In a couple of year’s time, the make-up of our membership will reflect the number of people gambling on their mobile phones. A few years ago, the number of internet gamblers was few and far between; now it is very different,” said a Gamblers Anonymous press officer.

Editor, - 2007-02-12 11:42:39

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