Over the past several months, the UK Gambling Commission (GC) has introduced a set of reforms in response to the rapid growth of the igaming industry over the past two years.
The pandemic has been great for online casinos, and the GC struggles to keep up. The new regulations that aim to protect players and decrease the rates of gambling addiction include new transparency demands, payment restrictions, and other possible changes.
The GC requires casinos to disclose all the relevant information
One of the major changes that the GC has recently made concerns what players have the right to know. It is not in any way surprising that major gambling operators hide a lot from players because they know that certain facts (like the odds of hitting the jackpot, for example) are almost guaranteed to discourage them.
However, this will no longer be an option. According to the new regulations issued by the GC, all UK gambling operators that specialise in slots will have to disclose everything that can affect players’ decisions. This implies, among other things, the average amount of winning versus losing per player. Sure, this will hardly affect people who have gambled for years and know all too well that as fun as gambling is, it is rarely profitable. But the less-than-inspiring statistics may convince new players to proceed with caution if at all, which will likely cost online casinos a large portion of their revenues.
The GC intends to make further changes that would benefit players
Improved transparency is not the only thing that will change for the igaming industry. Another important new regulation is the GC’s intention to be more involved. So far, because of the resource constraints, the rapid growth of the industry, and the lack of appropriate rules, the GC’s functions were very limited. Even though the funds are still lacking, and the gambling industry keeps growing, the GC’s involvement is about to change.
One of the reasons why the GC is trying to get more involved is to design new regulations that would decrease operators’ ability to manipulate players and, therefore, decrease the prevalence of gambling addiction. For example, one of the possible changes to look out for is a restriction on bonuses that online casinos can offer (such as loyalty bonuses). If the GC conducts market research and finds out that a lot of players cannot stop because of attractive bonuses, chances are there will soon be none of those.
Available payment options have changed
What is more, igaming operators can no longer accept credit cards. This is a very reasonable step on the GC’s part. The thing is, in the past, people with gambling addiction would often found themselves in massive debt because they could not stop. As long as they could continue to gamble, it did not matter what their credit card balance was. Therefore, the GC decided to make it impossible to gamble with a credit card. Now, players have to use a debit card, an e-wallet, cryptocurrency, or one of the other popular payment methods.
In fact, while the ban on credit cards may be frustrating for some players, in reality, it shows that the GC has players’ best interests at heart. People are still allowed to gamble as much as they want as long as they have the funds to do so. The only party that is going to lose revenues because of the regulation is online casinos.
The GC is concerned with the internationalisation of gambling
Finally, the GC has expressed concerns with the rapid growth and internationalisation of gambling in recent years, particularly since the beginning of the pandemic. The commission is rightly worried that it will not be able to oversee gambling effectively, given how limited its resources are compared to those of the gambling industry. According to Tim Miller, the GC’s executive director, “The emergence of a number of international gambling giants . . . shows just how much internationalisation could disrupt our work.” There is no viable solution at this point. For now, the only thing the GC can do is to step up its game to keep up with the industry’s growth.