How UK Gambling Laws Impact Your Online Casino Business

How UK Gambling Laws Impact Your Online Casino Business
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Nowadays, millions of players worldwide love online gambling, and more and more punters are registering to gambling operators daily. Various casino games offer real excitement and fun, which keep players coming back for more. 

The UK’s gambling sector is very different from what it was previous, and now the authorities have much more control over illegal gambling and are free to hand out gambling licenses to any operator fulfilling the conditions. These new UK gambling laws are there to protect you on your gambling experience. 

These days, online casinos and remote gambling have managed to replace the gaming machines in brick-and-mortar casinos in the UK, as they offer players the chance to play their favourite games from the comfort of their own homes. 

Punters had to go to unlicensed casinos in the UK, as no gambling regulation would operate gambling in the country. They couldn’t control illegal gambling, but now the UK casino industry is much different. Many gambling forms are now allowed and fully legal, and the UK Gambling Commission is the one authority handing out licenses and controlling the market. 

Remote gambling has been legal in the UK since 2005, when the Gambling Act was introduced, which legalized online gaming and made the UK Gambling Commission the main body controlling the sector. 

Stats you Need to Know About the UK Gambling Industry  

How to start an online casino business is a question asked by many operators already working outside of the country or looking to start a business there. The market is very well regulated, and there is strict control about unlicensed online gambling services and strict regulation regarding the information every online casino needs to provide to its players regarding gambling addiction. 

According to the latest statistics by the Gambling Commission, remote gambling among punters is increasing every year in terms of the GGR it provides. Online casinos contributed more than 60% of the GGR, and fixed-odds betting around 35%, which are impressive numbers. The rest of the share belongs to the National Lottery, pool betting and betting exchange. 

The new Tax Introduction in 2015 

In 2015, the authorities in the United Kingdom looked to expand the already existing gambling regulations, so they introduced several betting and gaming duties that supplemented the already existing Gambling Act. 

The expansion of the gambling sector was rapid in the last decade, and some problems occurred as a result of it, so the gambling opposition was against those changes. They were against mainly because of the following reasons: 

•   Fixed odds terminals were considered highly controversial; 

•   There was evidence regarding allowed underage gambling and illegal betting shops; 

•   The industry has grown so much that stricter regulations were needed for handing out gambling licences, as well as gambling software requirements; 

•   Failure by online casino sites to fulfil their gambling duty and provide punters with socially responsible services; 

•   Disregarding the gambling advertising codes; 

•   Doubts about UK operators not fulfilling their gambling laws and not respecting the betting operating licence; 

•   Unethical welcome bonuses which disrupted the gambling market 

Reasoning Behind UK Gambling Laws and Regulations 2021 

So, it became necessary that the relevant authorities introduce further regulations to the operators and restrict gambling services. With these regulations, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission wanted to: 

•   Promote transparency in advertising gambling services; 

•   Promote equal chance gaming; 

•   Have operators provide their services responsibly; 

•   Enable punters to know the risks of gambling; 

•   Protect underage people from gambling and not let them anywhere near gaming machines; 

•   Safe gambling environment which makes sure all operators are licensed; 

•   Limit the number of casino sites and slot machines with it; 

•   Ensure all offshore sites are compatible with the requirements by the Gaming Act, and they produce gambling software that has the security standards required 

The Effects of These Changes in the Gambling Act on Casino Bonuses 

Your online casino business is much driven by the bonuses you provide. Bonuses and promotions are an excellent way to attract new punters to the site and retain the already existing ones. The introduction of the tax in 2015, which meant a 15% betting duty for all gambling activities, created many complications for bonuses. 

This meant that the profits of every private enterprise gambling operator would reduce, so the vast majority of free bonuses that could be seen in casinos were just removed. Free bets also had to be limited or withdrawn, so this aspect significantly impacted the number of new players registering on online betting sites. 

Offshore gambling prior to these changes was not possible under regulations, and although these regulations opened the door for new, foreign operators to the market, some of the follow-up regulations proved to be problematic. Bonuses and promotions suffered a lot, as the tax seemed too big to hand out free bets and bonuses to punters. 

Changes in Advertising Policies for Online Casinos 

Another aspect that can affect your online gambling business is the changes in the advertisement regulations imposed in recent years.  

New rules include any money-back promotions that need to be in cash and not bonuses, and risk-free offers need to ensure that the punter is not having any financial losses. 

Ts & Cs on Online Casino Free Bonuses 

There is a bit of controversy around the free bets advertisement. The Committees of Advertising Practice enforced a provision that said all online casino operators need to list the terms and conditions of their free offers. 

These changes in the legislation came in the wake of the Commission’s decision to impose a $488,600 fine against a company that had online casino operators discovered to have breached rules promoting free bonuses to their players. 

The new regulation imposes a strict ban on the phrase “bet now”, and there are further restrictions on advertising special offers for the punters. This is set to be applied to every UK licensed operator. The Commission has further regulated gambling, and they will permit gambling and promotions but under strict conditions. 

Limitations on Promotional Offers in Casino Ads 

The Committees of Advertising Practice will further limit the ads with suggestions such as “risk-free” deposits. There will be free spins and great offers, but the way they are advertised is changing now. 

The Advertising Standards Authority will use these new regulations when they consider complaints and when they impose fines on operators. These rules will place further restrictions on ads that target the punters’ financial concerns, so gambling firms will be able to promote specific remote gambling bonuses. 

New promotions in UK online casinos now need to be better worded. The Committees of Advertising will not tolerate any online casino ads that exploit financial vulnerabilities of people or casinos that mislead people with their free bet offers and ongoing promotions. 

The new ad regulations in the UK strengthen the already-existing protections and make sure that gambling ads are now shown in a more responsible manner, which will minimize the risk of potential harm or gambling addiction. 

The UK Gambling Commission Ban on Credit Cards 

The last aspect of the UK gambling laws that you need to be aware of is the Commission’s ban on people using credit cards to gamble. This ban came into effect in April 2020, and it follows the review carried out by the Commission between August and November 2019. 

That review showed that of 24 million gamblers in the UK, 10.5 of them gamble online. The UK Finance department estimates that around 800,000 people use credit cards to gamble. By looking further into the research, it is shown that 22% of online gamblers that use credit cards are classified as problem gamblers, which is a worrying stat. 

The ban will apply to online and offline gambling, with the exception of the non-remote national lottery, so this will provide further protection to vulnerable gamblers. According to the Commission, credit card gambling may lead to severe financial harm, and with the introduction of the ban, the risks of that happening are minimized. People won’t gamble with money they don’t have. 

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