Online Casinos Facing Tougher Regulations
The UK Gambling Commission is introducing a number of new restrictions to online casinos and gambling sites in order to make them less intensive and a lot safer for the customers, making it easier for gamblers to play responsibly. As such, the gambling site is responsible for making a number of changes to the way they operate, and these changes will be monitored in order to make sure that the site is putting the customers’ needs first.
Slow Down the Action
One of the most significant areas online casinos need to address is the speed of the spins. They will now need to introduce limits on speed spins. Any feature that speeds up play must now be relinquished. Additionally, casino operators will need to place a ban on any feature on the site that celebrates losses as wins. Now, operators need to show players clearly exactly how much they have lost or won whilst playing. All operators available in the UK must make sure these new rules have been put into place by the 31st October 2021.
These new rules are specifically aimed at online slot machines, designed to mimic the experience of casino slot games, which currently account for over 70% of all online casino games. According to the UKGC, it is these games which have the highest average loss per player of any online casino games, so these are the games that they need to specifically target.
A Popular Pastime
Online casino and betting sites continue to be incredibly popular in the UK, and in 2019, online casino players in Britain spent over £2.2 billion on online gaming. The UK has one of the biggest markets in the world for online casino and, as such, it is vital to ensure players are enjoying it responsibly.
The UKGC has already targeted Fixed Odds betting terminals, found at land-based bookmakers, which allowed bettors to play games whilst at a betting shop. Now, the UK is aiming more attention at the online game equivalent. These games can see users play spin after spin and can be highly addictive. The new rules are designed to rein in the addictive power of the online slot and to help players control their spends.
Indeed, a number of MPs have criticised the UK Gambling Commission for being toothless and completely unprepared at dealing with online gambling. As such, at the start of 2021, it was announced that there would be a consultation on the funding of the UKGC, acknowledging that the organisation is too small to cope with the size of the online gambling industry.
There have already been indications that later this year, they may put in place a ban on gambling companies sponsoring sports teams and players. This will be a very unpopular move, not only with the gambling sites who advertise their service on major sporting events, but also with the sports teams and players who have come to rely on the sponsorship funds.
No More Reversal of Withdrawals
Another change that the UKGC is implementing is a ban on reverse withdrawals. That means that customers can no longer re-gamble the funds in their account that they have already requested to withdraw. Studies have indicated that the ability to reverse a withdrawal is a risk when it comes to re-spending because of the temptation it presents. Money that players had planned to withdraw often ends up getting simply put straight back in the games. This has been identified as another feature that online casinos implement in order to increase the player intensity and encourage binge playing and loss of control.
Although these new changes aren’t necessarily welcomed by the online casinos who are required to make the changes, they are certainly being welcomed by MPs that are looking to help curb the intensity of online gaming and betting online. These greater protections will hopefully reduce the risk of problem gambling and gambling-related harm.
A Changing Industry
This is not the first change that the UK Gambling Commission has made in regards to online gambling. Indeed, these are just some of a number of measures that the regulatory board is putting into play in order to protect players. Just last year, the UKGC placed a ban on online casinos and betting sites using credit cards as a means of funding their accounts. In addition to this, they also raised the age limit for players looking to buy a National Lottery ticket.