2018 Brings New Rules & Regulations for UK Casino Operators
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The United Kingdom is one of the easiest places in the world to place a bet. In contrast to many other countries, most popular forms of wagering including casinos, sports betting, lotteries and slot machines are fully legal and accepted as part of society.
However, gambling is still heavily regulated to protect consumers from scams and fraudulent activities, prevent underage gambling and promote responsible gambling. And that is where the Gambling Commission comes in.
The Gambling Commission was set up in 2005 as part of the Gambling Act. Since then, it has worked to regulate the industry and to ensure that UK operators are fully licensed and conducting their activities according to the requirements of the issued licence.
A recent business plan outlined the Commission’s desire to enforce stricter rules advertising rules, tighten up on unfair terms and conditions, and improve complaints and disputes processes.
The rules regarding advertising were proposed by the Advertising Standards Authority with the full support of the Commission. These included the removal of terms such as “Bet Now,” and “Risk-free,” and moving the emphasis from gambling for money to gambling for fun. In certain scenarios where a website may offer casino free spins, new regulations indicate alternative phrases such as “extra spins” may need to be used instead. This is to avoid confusion between spins that are given to a player that can be withdrawn freely and those that require a deposit or wagering requirements to claim.
Other initiatives include clamping down on advertising that may appeal to under 18s, heavier fines for breach of regulations and more transparency in regards to customer account information and the wording of terms and conditions. The overall aim is help operators make gambling fairer and safer for their users.
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Any operators found in breach of the regulations can expect to be fined a significant amount. And some have already fallen foul of the new rules and been fined and ordered to change the wording of their advertising. In many cases, operators are issued with warnings before a financial penalty is imposed. Recent cases have seen fines running into millions of pounds for some well-known UK operators.
Other measures that might be introduced in the future included stricter financial limits on accounts, tougher age verification procedures and even tighter rules on marketing and advertising. Websites may also be banned from offering free demo games until the age of the player has been verified.
One of the biggest areas that will continue to be targeted is advertising. This will affect online casino and betting operators and third-party companies offering services to UK customer. In order to avoid huge fines, companies will need to be more diligent than ever and keep on top of any new regulations that come into force. Teams of staff may be required to keep on top of compliance across multiple platforms. This may work out expensive for operators but the main objective is to create a safer and more responsible environment for those who choose to gamble.