New Restrictions for UK Players

The UK is continuously striving to clamp down on Gambling Laws and regulations to help protect the residence of the United Kingdom, from underage gambling as well as gambling addictions. 

Over the years politicians, the Advertising Association, Casinos, Bookmakers, Responsible Gaming (RG) charities and many more associations have been battling about new laws and regulations which should be in place. 

Although for many of us, gambling is a bit of fun which we have full control over, other players, unfortunately, suffer from addiction or abuse the system to money launder, or gamble underage. So what is the UK doing to prevent this and protect us players? 

Responsible Gambling

Currently, the UK has some of the strictest regulations in place when it comes to gambling, and these are to become even more regulated. 

The commission said and I quote: “The online gambling sector is tightly regulated and we continue to review and develop our regulations with new technology and innovation in mind”. 

The idea is to prevent underage gamblers, Anti Money Laundering (AML), and see gambling addicts provided with more support and help. Although there are several charities out there such as Gamstop and GamblerAware who are there to help and support players with gambling addictions, it is said that due to the rising numbers they do not currently have the funds to support and help all players. 

Casinos and Bookmakers have been asked to donate a percentage towards these foundations to help fund the players who are suffering from addictions and financial problems. To this day most leading high-street bookmakers matched or exceeded the 0.1% figure, with William Hill giving £1m, Mecca Bingo owner Rank donating £753,000 and Ladbrokes and Gala Coral, which have since merged, giving a combined £1.4m. Several well-known gambling brands, including Paddy Power, Betfair and 888, said they donated but would not say how much. 

To prevent further gambling and financial problems new rules and regulations are being discussed to lower Fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to £2. This is to help prevent players from betting unique amounts in minimal time on slot machines, which they can not necessarily afford. 

Banning the use of Credit Cards

Online Casinos have been criticised and blamed for allowing their players to deposit using Credit Cards, meaning their players are gaining financial difficulties.

With Credit Cards deposits increasing over the years, players are essentially able to gamble more than they can financially afford. With tight gambling restrictions in place, the Gambling Commission has asked banks to help customers block gambling transactions on their debit or credit cards upon requests from players.

It has been said that “Gambling operators must step in and act when people are showing signs of risky gambling and the casinos licences are at risk if they do not,” Wright has welcomed moves by high-street banks, including Barclays, Lloyds, Santander and the Royal Bank of Scotland, to allow customers to switch off spending on gambling through their mobile apps.

To this date, this service is already offered by Monzo and Barclaycard with hope in the future that Lloyds and other banks will also join to help gamblers have more control over there money and become more responsible. 

Banning TV Advertisements 

For many years there have been discussions about banning any advertisement supporting gambling from our televisions. Some people believe that due to TV advertisement, underage children have been encouraged and drawn into gambling illegally. 

Over the years we have seen a dramatic increase in the advertisement on our televisions. Whether this is general TV ad’s for Bingo or the Lottery, or footballers shirts sponsored by some of the biggest gaming companies. But does this make us rush out to go and buy a lottery ticket or sign up for the next round of Bingo? 

The Advertising Association, whose members include broadcasters ITV, Channel 4 and Sky, also denied alongside many others, there was not any reason to ban daytime gambling ads. Quoting:

“It’s not unusual for people to propose advertising bans when they’re looking to make a point,” said a spokesperson. “We are open to the conversation and anyone putting new evidence around advertising gambling. Yes, advertising around online gambling has grown significantly, but that hasn’t flowed through to any significant increase in problem gambling.”

A spokesman for ITV also said it already had “strict controls” in place to govern the content of gambling advertising.

On the other hand, Paddy Power Betfair said in the summer, and I quote “that it was supportive of further regulation to reduce the volume of pre-watershed TV advertising to protect young children”.

Another fact to consider is that not only are we exposed to the advertisement on our Televisions, but also on the internet and social media. The industry now spends £747m on direct online marketing, £301m through “affiliates” website such as tipsters, £149m through social media and £234m on TV ads. 

So if we are to ban all advertisement from our TV’s this does not mean we are protected from gambling advertisements. If all TV adverts are banned there a big chance we will see an increase in adverts popping up in these other areas, such as on social media.   

As of yet, there are still heated debates going on regarding the rights to air TV advertisements concerning gambling. In the future, us UK players may find we are restricted from seeing any advertisement of any kind regarding gambling, but is this going to make a big difference to us citizens? 

The UK’s gambling future

It is clear to see that in the future the rules and regulations around gambling is going to become a lot more strict and regulated! We may see a decrease in advertisements, special offers and fewer promotions for VIP players. We have already seen many of our favourite and popular slot games lose the “Feature Buy”, and I am sure in the future we will see a reduction in promotions and offers available to use. 

If you want to stay on top of what is happening with the UKGC then we will keep you updated as soon as we hear of any further news. 

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