Great Britain has a long history of gambling. A French visitor to London in 1765 once remarked:
“The English, who are profound thinkers, violent in their desires, and who carry all their passions to excess, are altogether extravagant in the art of gaming. Many devote their whole time to it at the expense of their repose.”
Gambling on these islands is nothing new. However, monitoring people’s financial and mental wellbeing whilst gambling so that it remains a healthy form of entertainment is somewhat of a more nuanced topic. This is why the government and the UKGC (United Kingdom Gambling Commission) work together to keep gamblers safe, casinos honest, and children firmly away – check out Jungle Jim Slot play it here.
The ongoing changes to keep gambling safe
The Gambling Act 2005 was the first significant piece of legislation to regulate gambling since the early 1960s. One of the motives for the 2005 Act was to create the UK Gambling Commission, an independent regulator acting as a branch of the UK government.
Principally, the objectives of 2005’s legislation was to create a landscape that promoted:
“Fair and safe gambling by protecting the underage and vulnerable, ensuring responsible advertising and practices and preventing the industry being used for criminal means”.
Nowadays, the UK is regarded as one of the safest places to bet in the world.
However, over the last 15 years, the online gambling industry has changed a lot. Now, we’re seeing calls for tighter regulations and restrictions in order to make the industry safer still. Is it time to update the 2005 Gambling Act? After all, the UKGC has received mounting criticism from charities and public forums that it is not doing enough to help the most vulnerable in society.
What could 2021’s act amendments be?
1) VIP schemes – VIP programmes offered by casinos are likely to be curbed or eradicated completely. Several studies and reports have shown that problem gambling and fraud is far more likely with VIP players and changes or restrictions are highly likely.
2) It’s possible loyalty schemes will be made more transparent about the amount of betting that is required relative to the value of the rewards.
3) Limits are already in place for games on physical fixed odds betting terminals and it is expected that similar rules will now be rolled out online. This also includes a potential £2 limit for online slot and table games (per spin) with overall limits also proposed (£100 in one day, for example).
4) The use of credit cards for gambling was banned in April 2020 but many want further restrictions. For example, you can still use ‘credit’ through pay by phone bill methods or to purchase cash vouchers. Rules around this will probably be tightened further.
5) Some sites have very low withdrawal limits and this can be very unfair for those that win big, such as a jackpot slot win. It can take years to get your money out of some sites, during which time there is always a risk of them going out of business. It is possible a new act may insist on minimum withdrawal levels to allow users to be able to retrieve large winnings more easily.
6) If a customer makes a large deposit or a deposit that is out of character compared to their usual activity then operators are required to check the source of funds to ensure they are legal and the customer can afford it. One of the most severe failings over the last ten years has been in this area and companies have been repeatedly fined for not checking where large deposits come from.
7) The use of images that appeal to children has come under intense scrutiny over the last few years. There are already rules in place stating that companies and advertisers should not display ‘childish’ images where they can be seen by children but in reality these rules are vague and not very well defined. The nature of slot games is that they appeal to people’s fantasies, many of which naturally would appeal to children. Therefore the types of imagery that can be used will be reviewed in detail.
For more information about possible changes to the Gambling Act, visit https://www.onlinebetting.org.uk/betting-guides/gambling-act.html