MPs and anti-gambling charities have condemned 150 of the top retailers in the country for creating a gambling culture in Britain’s homes. This because the retailers are offering online customers the chance to ‘win’ their shopping by placing a £1 bet on the outcome of the spin of a roulette wheel.
Asda, Sainsburys and Boots are among the retailers taking part and they are telling customers that they have the chance to win anything that they want. Now the retailers have been accused of encouraging people to gamble and preying on vulnerable families who are already facing economic hardships.
The way the system works is that a customer opens an online account with a gaming company. Then they look through the online catalogue of a particular store and if they see an item that they want they are given the option of whether to ‘play’ or ‘shop’. If they choose to ‘play’ then £1 is taken from their account and a roulette wheel appears. If the ball lands on red, the customer has won that item.
If they don’t win then they don’t need to buy the product but they have lost their pound. They are also enticed into playing again by incentives such as discounts on future purchases and free ‘plays’ on the wheel. Several of the stores taking part have already withdrawn because of the bad publicity following revelations by The Mail on Sunday about the scheme.
A Maltese gambling firm, Yipiii Gaming, operates the scheme and they are unregulated in this country. The company says that the odds of winning vary but that 85 pence in every £1 is returned to prizewinners. Yipiii say that the other 15 pence covers costs and profits. The company uses the catchphrase ‘With Yipiii you never lose’.