The landscape in the gambling industry has undergone significant changes since the turn of the century, sparking plenty of debates about legislation and regulation.
Online gambling has transformed the industry, providing people with much easier access to the best slot machines, casino games, bingo and sports betting.
With annual global revenues predicted to rise to more than $90 billion by 2023, it is easy to see why lawmakers are eager to ensure that gambling legislation is fit for purpose.
Read on as we take a look at some of the latest regulatory developments in one of the biggest gambling markets in the world – the United Kingdom.
Government Announces Gambling Review
The UK’s Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Oliver Dowden, has confirmed that the 2005 Gambling Act will undergo a rigorous review.
The DCMS will examine whether the Act is fit to serve the technological demands of the industry, particularly with regards to advertising standards and consumer safeguards.
The review will also assess the protection of under-aged gamblers and look at the systems governing operators in breach of their social responsibility requirements.
“Whilst millions gamble responsibly, the Gambling Act is an analogue law in a digital age,” Dowden said. “From an era of having a flutter in a high street bookmaker, casino, racecourse or seaside pier, the industry has evolved at breakneck speed.
“This comprehensive review will ensure we are tackling problem gambling in all its forms to protect children and vulnerable people. It will also help those who enjoy placing a bet to do so safely.
“This builds upon our clear track record of introducing tough measures to protect people from the risk of gambling harm – banning the use of credit cards, launching tighter age verification checks and cutting the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals.”
Gambling Expert Questions the Need for Review
A respected expert on the gambling industry has questioned whether the legislation in the UK needs a comprehensive review.
Richard Williams, Gambling and Regulatory partner at law firm Keystone Law believes that the current rules are not as outdated as the government has claimed.
He argues that while technology has moved on since 2005, the argument that all gambling took place in land-based venues is a false one.
Williams points out that the Act already regulates remote gambling using the internet as many operators had already launched online sites before its publication.
“If politicians took a history lesson, they would see that the current legislation is not so antiquated and, in my view, could easily be modified to deal with areas where technological developments have encouraged irresponsible gambling,” he told Gambling Insider.
“Any review of legislation should concentrate on higher risk activity, such as online casinos, where vast sums of money can be lost in a short space of time.
“Controlling this higher risk gambling activity could already be achieved through tougher license conditions and revised technical standards.
“In my view, therefore, it is not necessary to replace the entire Gambling Act 2005 Act with new legislation to deal with these issues.”
UK Watchdog Calls for Tech-Based Approach
Proposed regulations from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) relating to the governance of ‘Big Tech’ could have an impact on the gambling sector.
A new digital watchdog is expected to be created, which will establish enhanced standards of behaviour for any business who use tech.
This will include stricter controls over mergers and a set of provisions that may force companies into sharing selected data with third parties.
CMA CEO, Andrea Coscelli, says that any regulatory changes relating to the current digital landscape should be informed by recent developments in the FinTech industry.
“Effective regulation means not being afraid to try using new tools and approaches,” he said. “Our work on open banking, for example, has demonstrated the potential that opening up access to data can have in driving innovation.
“We recently announced that users of products enabled by open banking topped two million – demonstrating clear demand for these services which have been enabled by this intervention.”
Software Giants Get Set for Change
Leading gambling tech developer Playtech has already taken steps to prepare for changes to the legislative landscape in the UK.
The company has integrated Affordability UK into its Information Management System (IMS) platform to support operators in meeting new regulatory requirements.
Affordability UK can accurately identify customers whose gambling spend may be unsustainable, thus allowing operators to make early interventions.
The system, which is supplied by eKYC and fraud detection specialists TruNarrative, should prove to be an invaluable tool in tackling problem gambling.
Ian Ince, Chief Compliance Officer of Playtech, said: “As regulatory requirements around the sustainability and affordability of gambling become ever-more stringent, we want to ensure we can empower operators to meet these requirements and protect their players.
“With Affordability UK, we can offer a sophisticated, market-leading solution, backed by some of the most comprehensive data available. Backed by IMS integration, it can deliver a seamless experience for operators.”