UK Gambling Review Finally Launched This Week
December 9th, 2020 1.00pm
The long-awaited overhaul of the UK’s gambling law has finally gone underway, and it will include new regulative proposals aimed at tightening the regulations in almost all aspects of this lucrative industry.
According to available information, the country’s gambling industry is worth around £14.5 billion at the moment.
The overview officially began on Monday, December 7, with a formal call for evidence. Following the launch of the review, we’ll have to wait for terms of reference to be released. Only then can we have an idea about the scale of the upcoming reforms, which will determine the future of the UK’s gambling industry.
A Move Long-Overdue
The Government decided to go on with the review, after opponents of gambling, whose long list includes some influential MPs, have spent years calling for the implementation of stricter measures.
The Guardian claims some of the changes include a cap on online wagers, harsher affordability checks, a ban on sponsorship in sports, new advertising rules, an introduction of a testing regime for products, as well as many other means of dealing with the growing issue of the black market. However, we don’t know which of these measures will eventually go into effect.
Anti-gambling campaigners have welcomed the start of the long-called-for review, whose ultimate goal is to amend a significant portion of the existing Gambling Act. The piece of legislation that has created the country’s regulated market has been in force since 2005, and many believe that it needs to adapt to the current situation in the industry.
On the other hand, online gambling companies fear the stricter regulations would only make it harder to tackle the black market. They say that unlicensed operators don’t have any regard for anti-money laundering measures, responsible gambling and the safety of their customers, meaning new regulations won’t impact them.
A Thorough Review of the Existing Law
According to sources, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will analyse every aspect of the UK’s gambling law to see which areas need to be urgently updated.
Experts believe the particular focus of the review will be on the online vertical, including online casino and online slot games. Under the provisions of the existing law, gamblers in the UK can place any stake they want, without any limits whatsoever. However, the review will consider whether the introduction of a maximum bet limit is necessary. Many MPs have already said it is.
In addition to a limit on wagers, players in the UK could soon see an introduction of a limit on monthly losses. The current affordability checks should become much stricter to ensure that gamblers only wager what they can afford.
The DCMS will also review a number of other proposals, such as a testing review for gambling products. This measure should help the UK’s gambling watchdog determine whether a new product should be launched in the local market or not.
Another important topic that will be discussed during the review is advertising. Anti-gambling lobbyists have been calling for restrictions on gambling sponsorships in sports, and the review should bring stricter rules in this area. Available information suggests that logos of gambling companies will no longer be allowed on football club shirts. We can expect other new measures as well.
The review will also encompass promotional offers, such as free bets and other bonuses. These offers have led to several hefty financial fines imposed by the Gambling Commission on several operators doing business in the UK. The review will also consider whether VIP schemes that offer incentives to high rollers should still be available. Created to entice gamblers to spend more, such offers have known to cause significant problems for casinos, even leading to the revocation of their licenses.
Gamblers can expect much stricter regulations