News Americas, LONDON, England, Fri. Nov. 30, 2018: The UK is one of very few countries around the globe to have a fully regulated gambling industry both on land and online. Gambling activities like bingo, lotteries, sports betting and, of course, casino gambling, which slowly emerged in the 20th century, are now popular all over the country, and they are expected to continue to grow in popularity, as more and more people use their mobile devices for gambling purposes.
At present, UK legislation states that any casino operator wishing to open a casino in the country (be it an online casino or land-based one) must have a gambling license issued by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). The UKGC was established with the application of the Gambling Act 2005. Incidentally, it was this Act that established most of the regulations, which are still active in the UK.
Gambling Act 2005
In essence, thanks to the Gambling Act 2005, it became possible to establish a modern gambling industry in the UK.
As mentioned on CasinoGuardian.co.uk, the Act made it compulsory for all gambling operators wishing to offer services to the UK public to obtain a license from the UKGC, which has made online and land-based casinos in the country substantially safer and more reliable than any other casinos. What is more, the Act has established three main objectives regarding the use of licenses.
First of all, the bill aims to make gambling an entertainment activity that is neither associated with crime nor with a disorder. Secondly, the Gambling Act 2005 puts forth the use of licenses in order to ensure that all gambling activities are conducted in a fair fashion. Furthermore, vulnerable individuals and children are protected from being harmed by gambling. Last, but not least, any operator wishing to offer services to UK individuals are required to prove that they are financially stable and that they can provide fair games to players.
In order to oversee licensing activities, as well as to monitor casinos on the web, the Act puts forth the UKGC.
It should also be noted that it was not possible to advertise gambling in the UK until the Gambling Act 2005 came into force. Thanks to the bill, it became possible for operators to advertise their business on TV and even on football kits, too.
Overall, thanks to the Gambling Act 2005, the UK established of a fully regulated gambling business.
The UK and Fixed Odds Betting Terminals
As mentioned earlier, the Gambling Act 2005 was supposed to make gambling an entertainment activity, but it turned out an addiction to many. As it might be expected, it was no other than FOBTs that turned many Brits into gambling addicts.
Simply put, FOBTs are computer terminals allow players to bet on events with fixed odds. These machines are usually perceived as electronic slot machines, which allow people to play a wide array of games, including roulette, and some even offer simulated horse racing or bingo.
Of course, these machines do have a maximum stake and it used to be £100 but, since May this year, the maximum stake of FOBTs has been cut to just £2.
According to The Guardian, in 2016, about 13.6% of all FOBTs users were associated with problem gambling behaviour. Not surprisingly, this is the highest rate for any gambling activity on UK soil. The fact that players can make a bet every 20 seconds does not make things better either.
The Guardian further explains that those who live in areas of high deprivation were most likely to stake the maximum bet, which, as mentioned, was as high as £100. As it can be imagined, bookies who house these slot-like machines win a lot from them, but things are not the same for FOBTs’ users. In fact, data shows that there are more than 233,000 cases of FOBTs players losing more than £1,000 within a single year.
Whereas the maximum stake cut might seem radical to some, especially to bookies, it is supposed to help people overcome their addiction, or at least let them lose less money.
It is true that addiction to FOBTs is the biggest problem legislators need to face, it is far from the only one.
Online Casinos and Fairness
As mentioned, UK online casinos are generally some of the safest gambling sites one can access on the web. Nevertheless, not all operators who offer services to Brits conduct a fair gambling policy.
According to the Daily Mail, the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) has conducted a two-year review of several online bookmakers who were not conducting a fair gambling business. Following this review, the CMA has stepped in to make sure that two companies alternate sections in their terms and conditions or face “regulatory action” if they refuse to do so.
The CMA has noted that two sites, Jumpman Gaming and ProggresPlay have T&Cs which allow them to take money from accounts if players had not used their account for a certain period of time. In addition, some sites altered the odds of winning bets and even delayed payouts to winners.