UK Gambling Act Review

UK Gambling Act Review

Paul M |
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The United Kingdom has finally published its long-awaited Gambling Act review white paper, which outlines significant changes to how gambling will be regulated in the country, including the online casino industry.

This review marks the most transformative gambling review in 18 years, as the government aims to address the challenges posed by the rapidly evolving digital landscape, which allows for 24/7 internet access and smartphones.

Introduction and Background

The white paper covers various aspects of the industry, including affordability checks, stake limits, a mandatory statutory levy, an ombudsman for dispute resolution, supporting the Gambling Commission, easing land-based restrictions, advertising measures, and tackling the black market. The proposed changes will apply to both land-based and online casinos.

Affordability Checks and Responsible Gambling Measures

One of the most significant changes is the introduction of affordability checks, which will be triggered when a player loses £1,000 within 24 hours or £2,000 over 90 days. Operators of both land-based and online casinos will have to perform “passive” checks on players who have a net loss beyond £125 each month or £500 per year. This is a critical move towards responsible gambling and could help protect vulnerable individuals who may be spending beyond their means.

Stake Limits and Preventing Overspending on Slots

There is also the introduction of a stake limit on slots, which will be subject to a consultation process. The DCMS is considering a limit of between £2 and £15 per spin. Stake limits could help reduce gambling-related harm by preventing players from overspending on slots, which are known to be among the most addictive forms of gambling in both online and land-based casinos.

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Statutory Levy for Research, Education, and Treatment

The white paper also proposes the introduction of a mandatory statutory levy, which will be paid by operators to the GB Gambling Commission. This will fund research, education, and treatment (RET) for gambling harms. The DCMS will consult on the design and scope for this in summer 2023.

Gambling Ombudsman for Dispute Resolution

Creating an operationally independent gambling ombudsman to address player complaints is also proposed. The ombudsman will allow the GB Gambling Commission to enact more targeted enforcement activity and help the industry support vulnerable groups.

The commitment to the ombudsman will initially be voluntary, but if it is not well received in the industry, DCMS will legislate to prove its necessity.

Easing Land-Based Restrictions and Increasing Slot Machines

The white paper also proposes easing land-based restrictions, such as allowing casinos to offer sports betting at their premises, easing limits on the number of slot machines in larger casinos, and allowing smaller casinos to host extra machines on a pro-rata basis.

Advertising Measures and Stronger Informational Messaging

Advertising measures are also included in the white paper, including a consultation on new proposed controls for customers, such as the ability to opt-in for online bonuses and other online casino offers. Informational messaging on gambling harms will also be made stronger and more effective.

Tackling the Black Market with Statutory Backing

The white paper aims to tackle the black market by giving statutory backing to the voluntary agreement in place with payment providers, which blocks illegally-operating gambling websites. The Commission will be allowed to apply for a court order to force providers to block these sites.

Overall, the white paper proposes significant changes to the gambling industry in the UK, which could help reduce gambling-related harm and improve player protection.

The DCMS will now consult on the proposals outlined in the white paper, and the industry will be watching closely to see how these changes are implemented. It remains to be seen how effective these changes will be, but it is a step in the right direction towards responsible gambling and protecting vulnerable individuals.

 

paulmjr
paulmjr

Paul MSlots Master

Paul has always been a huge fan of casinos and slot games. With over 20 years of experience in the online casino and gaming sector, his opinions and insight can be extremely valuable.

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