According to Casino Beats, the United Kingdom plans to review the Gambling Act 2005. However, considering the development and growth of the online gambling industry, the government wants to limit online stakes and review other aspects of their operations.
Some online stakeholders in the UK believe that this move will drastically affect the industry. Let’s take a look at the UK Gambling Act of 2005 and see what likely alterations will be made.
Overview of the UK Gambling Act of 2005
Before the Gambling Act of 2005, the Betting and Gaming Act of 1960 governed the operations of bingo halls and casinos in the UK. Then the Gaming Act of 1968 was passed into law to liberalize the industry. The Gaming Act of 1968 allowed more operators to obtain licenses.
On the other hand, the Gambling Act of 2005 is the most current law governing gambling and other related activities in the UK. More so, it appears that regulating and monitoring land-based casinos’ compared to online gaming platforms. The Gambling Act was enacted to address online gambling in the UK. The Gambling Act set up the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC). The primary objectives of the
Gambling Act of 2005 are:
Prevent the use of gambling as a source of crime
Ensure that gambling is operated in a fair fashion
Protect vulnerable people from being exploited by gambling companies
Also, operators had to meet certain requirements set out by the UKGC. For instance, the operator must be financially stable and ensure that their games are fair. In 2014, the Gambling Act was amended to stop online companies from diverting commission due to the UK.
Shortcomings of the Gambling Act of 2005
Based on the current turn of events, some provisions of the Gambling Act of 2005 are no longer suitable for regulating online gambling. Consequently, this caused the need to review the Act.
Furthermore, MPs’ major concern is that the Gambling Commission cannot address online stakes issues. According to Carolyn Harris MP, the commission is “not fit for purpose” because it doesn’t address key issues relating to online stakes and prizes. Harris is the Chair of the Gambling Related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group (GRH APPG).
Other areas of concern are:
Issues regarding online slots having higher stakes compared to land-based casinos
Protecting children and other vulnerable persons
Besides, most MP’s also believe that Gamble Aware is not proactive and effective. The GRH APPG also referred to this in their report.
Proposed Amend by the DCMS
To cure the defects in the Gambling Act of 2005, the DCMS has submitted areas to be reviewed. Some of the areas set out for consideration are:
Online and Electronic Slot Machine Games: Presently, on some online platforms, there is no limit to the amount bettors can stake at online slot games. Meanwhile, at land-based casinos, bettors are restricted to a maximum of £100.
VIP Schemes and Promotions: The proposal plans to impose stricter regulations regarding promotions and VIP schemes offered by operators.
Sports Sponsorship: The DCMS is also proposing a ban on sports sponsorship in the UK. More than half of the English Premiership clubs are partnering with bookmakers.
DCMS will submit its terms of reference for the Gambling Act’s proposed review within a few days.
Online Gambling vs. Land-Based Gambling in the UK
No doubt, SA online gambling and land-based gambling appear to be worlds apart. Online gambling seems to be swallowing land-based gambling activities. However, that’s almost the case in most countries apart from the UK.
Based on this, most countries are applying stricter regulations on the activities of online operators. Regulating and monitoring land-based casinos’ activities are easier than online casinos, slots, bingos, etc.
The amendments proposed by the DCMS aim to impose more measures that will monitor online gambling activities in the UK. Somehow, this will balance the gap between online gambling and land-based operations.
Effect of the Proposed Review of the Gambling Act by the DCMS
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) appears not too pleased with some of the proposed amendments. Also, they pointed out some of the likely effects of the amendment of the Gambling Act on the industry. For instance, the BGC believes that the continuous tightening of regulations could lead to a rise in parallel market betting operations.
Although one of the recommendations of the DCMS is to provide the Gambling Commission more financial sources, the BGC is somewhat skeptical that the amendments will better the industry.