The United Kingdom remains one of the biggest online gambling markets in the world. Casino revenues seem to be exponentially growing each year, contributing to more jobs in the gambling industry than ever before. However, this raises a problem on the other side of the wall. With the rapid expansion of Britons playing online casinos in the UK, gambling addiction seems to be on the rise as well.
The UK government decided to put a stop to this by setting new standards and regulations that will affect all casino houses, both land-based and online ones.
The Crackdown on Advertising
After conducting several studies, the UK Gambling Commission revealed that over 2 million people in the country either have already had an established gambling addiction or are at high risk of developing one.
The aim of these regulations is to protect the part of the population that seems to be the most vulnerable one when it comes to developing gambling issues. The current solution is to transform the way every single online UK casino site advertise its services.
The problem is that casino ads can often get misinterpreted. Promoting “risk-free” bets or allowing for “free spins” on online slot machines creates a notion that a player has a chance to win money without previously needing to risk his or her own. This is almost never the case since online operators only allow such offers after a certain deposit has been made. While these rules are included in Terms & Conditions of each gambling website, you can easily see how someone can be persuaded to think otherwise.
Phrases like “Free Bonus no Deposit”, “Money Back”, “Free Betting” or even “Bet Now” can soon be prohibited from all advertisements, or get heavily regulated. All profits from risk-free bets will get capped at a certain amount. Operators might also be prohibited from promoting winning or mentioning any chances a player might have to win. These new regulations will put a stop to sportsbook commercials during live sporting events. Many companies, like Bet365 for example, offer live in-play betting during a commercial break of Premier League football matches. Actions like these raised concerns, as studies showed that people are more susceptible to gambling while watching live sports. One of the most controversial issues is that some betting ads seem to be appealing to minors.
The New Fixed-Odds Betting Rules
A large portion of casino revenue comes from fixed-odds betting. The reason for this is that games like roulette, for example, have loose limits when it comes to wagering. Currently, you can bet as much as £100 for every 20 seconds. You can see how this may cause significant financial issues for addicted individuals.
The solution is to cut down on these limits and to reduce the stakes from £100 to only £2 per 20 seconds. This way, some vulnerable players will get financially protected, and they will be less likely to lose a lot of money in a short period.
How Will Casinos Adapt?
Obviously, these new regulations will create large monetary issues for gambling companies, and they might even put some smaller casinos out of business. Industry giants like William Hill and 888 Casino have already been used to these kinds of regulation changes, and although they will take a financial toll, it is likely that they will adapt over time. Their main struggle is to adapt on time before breaking the law and having to pay huge fines. Many online casinos are also swaying towards slot games, as this type of gambling is yet to be strictly regulated. Some real money casino websites, like Prime Slots, are exclusive to slot gaming.
Another thing we might see in the following years are big company mergers. Ladbrokes Coral and GVC Holding already completed a deal in March of 2018.
There is no way to predict how these changes will affect the online gambling industry as a whole. The regulatory bodies hope that the new set of rules will help the ones with gambling addiction and create a barrier for substantial financial losses on gambling.
Although online casinos are not happy about these reforms, it doesn't mean that it will put them out of business. It is likely that the industry will continue with its steady growth, but only with a safer environment for their customers.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes