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The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) have certainly been baring their teeth a lot recently and they’ve just published yet another list of new suggestions. This is to be used both online and in betting shops, so let’s take a look at what exactly they’re suggesting.
The report begins with a foreword from Tracey Crouch MP who is the Minister for Sport & Civil Society. In this, she acknowledges that gambling creates a fair revenue and is enjoyed by many. However, she highlights that the regulations set out are to aid those who perhaps can’t control their gambling habits and require assistance to minimise the risk. This is really the driving force behind the changes that you’ll see below.
Four Areas to Target Online
There are four key areas within the report for those in the online gambling space to follow. The first is age verification, which has been a major point of contention recently. In order to tackle the issue of underage gambling, the UKGC want checks to be stricter, but for operators this can mean lost revenue and increased costs.
The next of these areas is customer identification. This can also be shortened to KYC (know your customer). With money laundering and problematic gambling having an impact, it’s essential to know who your regular gamblers are. While this doesn’t mean a site needs to introduce themselves personally each day, they should have a sense of who is gambling with them.
Next on the action points, we have unfair terms and conditions. This is one that we, as players can really get behind. We want operators to be held accountable for promotions that mislead customers like us. This includes making promotions seem better than they are, covering up the fine print and leaving out essential information. We can get behind this!
The last one on the list is actually great for customers too, as they want to tackle unresponsive support. We’ve all heard horror stories about players being stuck without support in a sticky situation and we don’t want to be in the same position. These UKGC regulations want operator sites to really help their customers, as well as watching out for signs of any dependency too.
In the Retail Sector
There’s one major part of these new online gambling laws that will really impact high street bookmakers, and that’s the new limit on FOBT stakes. If you’re not familiar with these Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBT), they’re gaming cabinets that exist within a lot of high street betting shops.
They allow users to gamble up to £100 in a single stake, without the intervention of anyone else. They’re not linked to an account or anything else that could be used to identify if they have a gambling issue.
Now, the recommendation, which will be taken up, is that these should be limited to £2 per game. Early industry analysis shows that this could have a massive effect on these bookmakers and their ability to turn a profit in stores.
Unfortunately, this may also have a knock on effect to staff and the livelihood of these shops. While we want to be protecting problem gamblers, there’s a case to be made that players should be able to stake what they would like. It’s certainly a divisive issue at the moment!
With these new regulations coming into play, we may see some big changes on our favourite sites and in betting shops too. We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled to see what impact these end up having.