Big Changes This Year for Gambling Industry in the UK
The Gambling Commission continues to implement new restrictions within the gambling industry in an effort to protect players.
Gambling in the United Kingdom looks a lot different these days than it did in the past. For quite some time now, the UK Gambling Commission has made changes to regulations, ranging from sports betting to gambling advertising, in an attempt to better serve players. Many of the regulation changes were decided on last year and will be put into play in 2021. Over the next few months, even more changes may come to past that might do more harm than good for the industry as a whole.
Creating a Safer Environment
The new restrictions in the UK were put in place to create a safer online gambling environment. Such changes include limiting the speed of slot game spins as well as a permanent ban on features that increase the speed of games. The Commission is also doing away with celebration features that look at a loss like a win.
Operators must put certain information on the screen for players to see during gaming sessions. This includes the total losses or wins during the session. All of these changes must be in place by October 31 or operators will be in violation of the new regulations.
The strict changes come at a time when the Commission is concerned over online slot games. Such titles make up around 70% of the online casino market. The games have the highest average losses per player when it comes to all available online gambling games.
The new regulations come after the Commission hit the land-based sector hard, lowering the betting limits on fixed-odds betting terminals. The lowered the limit considerably, which cuts down on the profit margins for operators.
The Commission has made these operational changes under heavy criticism. MPs have come forward time and time again, calling the group ill-equipped to handle the shift to online gambling. At the end of January, a consultation was announced quietly by the government involving the Commission.
The regulator will be reviewed, and consideration given on how it should be funded. It has long been acknowledged that the group is quite small when considering the scope of work it must complete to handle the online gambling industry.
According to numerous reports, there is talk that a ban on gambling company sponsorships of football shirts and dart players will be coming soon. This would be a negative for the gambling companies as well as the clubs. Both rely on revenues from these partnerships.
Regulators are also considering banning the ability for players to access reverse withdrawals. This process is when a player requests to make a withdrawal but then changes their mind and wants to gamble with the money instead.
The Commission says that there is evidence to show that such withdrawal options are a risk to players. The reverse withdrawal is being called a temptation for players to continue gambling. The Commission stated further that the slot features that are being removed or are going to be more controlled are connected to an increase in play intensity as well as loss of control or binge playing among bettors.
Nigel Huddleston, the Sports, Tourism and Heritage Minister, is on board with the changes. He says that such new restrictions will help to slow the intensity of online gambling and provide greater protections to help reduce the risk of harm related to gambling.
Over the next few months, we should see the changes implemented by online gambling companies. We will keep an eye out for additional changes as well in case the Commission decides to instill even more regulatory changes as the industry continues to evolve and grow.