In April 2023, the UK government published a white paper introducing changes to online gambling.
The gambling law was first introduced in 2005. Back then, betting was most often done in physical places: casinos, racetracks and betting shops. Today, two-thirds of the industry’s revenue comes from online gambling.
According to Culture Minister Lucy Fraser, we are living in an age where people have a virtual mobile casino in their pockets: “It has made gambling easier, quicker and often more fun, but when things go wrong it can see people lose thousands of pounds in a few swipes of the screen“.
The measure promises to reform the industry to take into account the widespread use of smartphones. According to Lucy Fraser, the new law will primarily aim to protect those most at risk. It will strengthen the social safety net and allow millions of people to continue playing safely.
In this article, we will explain what changes await the providers, the betting companies and the gamblers.
The authorities plan to introduce a new betting limit for online slots. The maximum bet will be between £2 and £15 per spin. According to the authors of the bill, the measure would protect users from no-limit losses. It would also balance the rules of play at online and land-based casinos, where there is already a £5 betting limit.
As it stands, the betting limit will only apply to online slot games, with table games and live dealer casino games seemingly exempt from such betting limits.
“The new laws are undoubtedly strict, some may even say harsh, on online slots players.
“However, the legislation does still have to be passed and you can expect a lot of lobbying from the biggest players within the online gambling industry.
With that being said, we do expect that if the laws are passed as expected, then a lot of slot players will begin playing live casino games which take more skill to play and won’t, as it stands, come with the same strict restrictions.”
Young people aged 18 to 24 are most at risk of developing a gambling addiction, according to a UK public health study. The law proposes stronger measures to protect young gamblers, such as lower betting limits.
Bookmakers and gambling companies will carefully check players with the highest charges to ensure that gamblers are free of debt or financial loss and bankruptcy. Don’t panic! The checks will take place in the background and will not affect gameplay. And 8 out of 10 players will never face any checks at all according to the authors of the law.
For many,bonuses, such as free spins and bets, make gambling more exciting and enjoyable. However, such promotional offers can be dangerous for people with addictions. The Gambling Commission will carefully review the bonuses and may restrict them if they are used for harmful purposes.
Bookmakers and gambling companies will pay a compulsory levy (fee) to the Gambling Commission. The money will be used for research, education and paying for the treatment of people with gambling addiction. The fee will still be discussed, taking into account the size of the business, operating costs and gambling rates.
The design of gaming sites and games can also be potentially harmful. For example, some colours can allegedly provoke excitement in players. A new law will therefore look at the design rules to avoid any risks of increasing addiction.
The Gambling Commission announced a war on illegal providers and operators. It proposes to identify and mercilessly block violators of the law. This will help tackle the black market in gambling, protect players and strengthen the regulatory environment.
The White Paper has also proposed a tax on betting on horse racing and an extension of the powers of the Gambling Commission.
Talks about reforming online gambling began back in 2020. Since then the publication of the White Paper has been delayed several times. Gambling minister Stuart Andrew said the government plans to pass the changes by the summer of 2024, but the opposition Labour Party is calling for the legislation to be passed before the summer break in parliament.