Since the enactment of The Gambling Act 2005, the UK had not seen any other significant gambling industry changes. However, in 2019, the country saw a tangible move towards sweeping new regulations, beginning with implementing fixed-odds betting terminal limits or FOBT.
Online casinos allow players to enjoy their favourite table games or slots because all they require is a device connected to the Internet. But with so many gambling sites available, choosing the right platform like Online Casino Today can be daunting unless you do extensive research first.
The recently increased calls for additional regulations, such as a £2 online slots betting limit or restricted VIP programs and advertisement, are due to the sheer number of online gaming platforms.
How the UK Gambling Commission Regulates Gambling
The UK Gambling Commission regulates remote gambling (online or mobile), arcades, betting, casinos, gaming machine providers, bingo, gambling software providers, external lottery managers, and lottery operators either based in the UK or that use British-based equipment. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport sponsors the Gambling Commission, an executive non-departmental public body.
The commission also combats illegal gambling activities, commercial gaming businesses operating without a licence, and non-compliance.
What is Compliance?
The UK Gambling Commission ensures that all licence holders understand and remain compliant with the laws that govern the industry, the licence conditions, and codes of practice. These include:
- Gambling Act 2005 and other statutory instruments (regulations) under it
- Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice
- Technical standards that apply to gaming and betting operating licences
- National Lottery Act
The Gambling Commission ensures compliance by concentrating on the effectiveness of the licence holders' self-regulatory instruments. Therefore, it undertakes the following activities:
- Carrying out visits and reviews
- Giving specific advice and guidance to licence holders
- Varying or imposing additional licence conditions
- Taking remedial or preventive action
- Reviewing financial information
With new regulation changes expected to affect the UK gambling market and see an industry shift to parallel markets, the government could increase the powers and financial resources of the UKGC.
New Online Gambling Regulations Introduced Since 2005
Since the early 2000s, the UK government had acknowledged that regulatory and legal problems would arise due to the online gambling industry's rapid expansion if it failed to take control. As a result, they adopted the 2005 Gambling Act.
However, the Act was not enough to regulate the industry and prevent illegal activity. Hence, the government created the UK Gaming Commission to regulate casino operators and ensure compliance. Since 2005, the commission has introduced and implemented several new regulations, including:
- The Gambling Act 2014
The Gambling Act 2014 (for Licensing and Advertising) reversed the British gambling system's "point-of-supply" scheme for remote gambling into a "point-of-consumption" one. The change criminalised the remote provision of gambling facilities to British players from persons in another jurisdiction without valid British licences.
For instance, before the 2014 Act changes, remote Italian casinos operating London sites did not require British licences to serve British players.
- New solutions for underage gambling
According to UKGC statistics, the UK has nearly 450,000 children(aged 11 to 16) who bet regularly. The commission now wants online casinos to manually verify their customers' ages by requiring them to provide some identification and have their compliance team verify it.
No entity or person should advertise or make gambling available to persons under 18 years. However, limited exceptions exist, for example, the National Lottery or football pools where the relevant age of consumption is 16 years.
- Restriction of Credit Card Systems
The UKGC also announced that making deposits at online casinos using credit cards is officially illegal in the country. The commission's decision resulted from a survey that showed that nearly 22% of British gamblers who used their credit cards to fund their accounts were problem gamblers.
Additionally, an increasing number of people got into significant debt because they used their credit cards to make deposits. The new credit card payments regulation came into effect on April 14, 2020.
A Host of Proposed New Regulations
More recently, the UK Gaming Commission has stated that Britain's betting industry is spinning out of control, which has renewed calls for new regulations enacted since 2019. The commission is intent on regulating the gambling industry with a host of new, more stringent regulations. Some proposed changes under consideration include:
- Tough affordability checks
- A sports sponsorship ban
- Limits on online stakes and prizes
- A testing regime for new products
- Legal redress for wronged punters
- Mandatory levies to fund addiction treatment
- Increased powers to tackle parallel markets
Industry speculations state that the UK Gambling Commission is in the process of formulating a new Gambling Act that will cover new-age technologies. It will include regulations touching on the mobile casino market plus other emerging technologies like virtual reality (VR) that companies could use for gambling activities.