The United Kingdom is often cited as an example of its well-regulated gambling industry. Currently, gambling throughout the country is blossoming and the market’s value reaches over £14 billion. Gambling is not a new pastime among Brits who used to place bets since time immemorial. A brief historical overview of the UK gambling laws reveals that the country’s gambling market witnessed many twists and turns until it reached its current state.
As for now, the primary piece of legislation that regulates the UK gambling market is the Gambling Act 2005. Under this act, operators who wish to offer gambling services to UK residents need to hold a license by the country’s gambling authority, and more precisely the UK Gambling Commission. What is more, it is perfectly legal for UK residents to participate in online gambling activities as long as they are above the legal gambling age of 18.
The UK Gambling Commission is the authority tasked with overseeing the proper implementation of the gambling laws embraced by the country’s legislators. The gambling watchdog cemented its reputation thanks to the strict standards it maintains. The Commission also has the power to set the licensing conditions. Its main goal is to ensure a fair and safe gambling environment for all UK casino enthusiasts.
According to casinoguardian.co.uk, the gross gambling yield (GGY) in the UK keeps on climbing up at an exponential pace. It was also reported that the number of problem gamblers is on the rise and adolescents are also affected by the addictive nature of gambling.
The alarming trend made the country’s officials review the existing gambling laws and call for a change in the legal framework. Industry experts believe that the year 2021 might be pivotal to the UK gambling industry. The autumn of 2020 was expected to witness the implementation of a new gambling act, but due to the Covid-19, it was delayed for 2021.
What is expected to change with the arrival of a new Gambling Act?
It is not possible to accurately predict what changes will the arrival of the new UK gambling act bring. Our forecast is based on recent proposals aimed at curbing the increasing rates of problem gambling. We consider that the new gambling act will not radically transform the regulations that currently govern the gambling industry, but rather improve them.
Whether the reforms will have a positive or negative effect on the UK gambling industry is yet to be seen. But one thing is for sure, the changes are intended to limit gambling addiction issues. In the lines below, we will discuss the changes expected to be included in the ner UK gambling act.
A restriction on VIP Schemes and Loyalty Programs
In a bid to curb problem gambling, the lawmakers are expected to introduce a restriction on VIP schemes and loyalty programs offered by online casino operators. It was reported that the majority of people who suffer gambling-related issues are casino patrons who are attracted by various rewarding VIP schemes. In 2020, the country’s authorities revealed their plans to age-restrict such VIP programs. Players under the age of 25 will not be able to benefit from VIP programs and loyalty schemes. The authorities also urged operators to transparently lay out the terms and conditions associated with their VIP schemes.
Stricter Responsible Gambling tools
Reputable online casino operators are obliged to offer various self-reliant tools to protect vulnerable players. Currently, casino enthusiasts are allowed to set various limits to have better control over their gambling sessions. Under the new rules, mandatory limits that are automatically set will apply. What is more, a new tool that allows players to keep track of their gambling activity across all brands is expected to be introduced.
Not long ago, the country introduced stake limits on fixed-odds betting terminals. According to our humble opinion, the lawmakers will most probably adopt online bet limits. To further reduce significant financial losses, the legislators might introduce an interval between spins. What is more, in case of deposits exceeding a given threshold, operators will be required to strictly check the source of funds and determine whether the player can afford to lose that amount. Newcomers at a given online casino may also face limits on the maximum bets they are allowed to place.
A ban on reversal withdrawals is looming
Many online casinos allow players to cancel their withdrawal requests during the pending period which the casino takes to approve the payment. Experts believe that problem gamblers tend to reverse their withdrawal requests more often than others and use the money to play more at a given online casino. The new measures will eliminate this option, which means that once you request a withdrawal, there is no going back. Hence, casino fans will need to deposit more funds to their gaming accounts instead of using their earnings if they want to continue playing.
New rules to limit Gambling commercials
Strict restrictions regarding gambling commercials are already implemented in the existing Gambling Act 2005. However, casinos are allowed to promote their services through affiliates that are not licensed. To adequately regulate the provision of gambling advertisements, lawmakers might require affiliates to have licenses. In that way, affiliates will be legally responsible for the content and the brands they are advertising.
The future of the loot boxes
The presence of loot boxes has become a subject of many heated debates. In a nutshell, loot boxes contain virtual items that can be used in the game. Such treasure chests are linked to gambling as players do not know what items are included in the loot box until they purchase them. Loot boxes are features in video games that are also available to players under 18 years old. Hence, game makers will either need to stop the inclusion of loot boxes in games that are not restricted only to adults or require age verification and gambling warning signs.