In 2021 we could see some significant changes to gambling in the UK. The UK is already the largest regulated gambling market in Europe, and the UK Gambling Commission is in place to watch over bookmakers and gambling companies, to ensure compliance and transparency across the sector.
Since 2005, the UK’s gambling industry has been managed by The Gambling Act, but a new act is expected to replace this next year. Carl from Find Betting Sites has outlined what changes he expects to see in UK gambling in 2021.
The end of VIP schemes and loyalty points?
Much of the new gambling act’s focus to be introduced in 2021 will concentrate on protecting punters from financial difficulties. VIP schemes offered by bookmakers and online casinos are likely likely to be outlawed, as many studies have shown that gambling fraud is much more likely with VIP players. Moreover, there is some controversy around how to qualify for loyalty points with bookmakers, so new measures are expected to restrict bookies and casinos from issuing loyalty point schemes.
An increase in the use of responsible gambling tools?
This is widely seen as a progressive measure, particularly for online accounts. There is expected to be further regulation around deposit limits, time limits, activity warnings, and loss limits. At present, such responsible gambling tools are optional to most gamblers. However, with the new regulation, it is likely that some of these tools will become mandatory, if not for all punters, then at least for those gambling with a certain amount of money.
Mandatory deposit protection for customer funds?
Although deposit protection already forms part of the 2005 Gambling Act, the way it’s worded means that bookmakers don’t actually have to protect customers’ funds if they go bust. New regulations are predicted to enforce, as a minimum, that bookmakers and online gambling companies must ensure they have arrangements in place to reimburse customers if the company goes bust.
Online stake limits?
At present, limits are already in place for games on physical fixed-odds betting terminals, a move that saw a lot of opposition from high street bookmakers who saw their profits significantly reduced as a result. It’s expected that new legislation will seek to implement similar restrictions to online betting games and could be as low as £2 per hand/spin, depending on the type of game being played. The stake limit will possibly go hand-in-hand with a daily limit imposed on a customer’s account, perhaps in the region of £100 per day. Such a move could be devastating for several online bookmakers, who rely heavily on online casinos’ revenue for their profits.
Changes to TV and sports advertising and sponsorship?
In the past, many professional sports teams were sponsored by alcohol and tobacco companies before regulations were put in place to restrict this. Currently, ten premier league clubs and seventeen championship clubs are sponsored by betting companies. Given the number of sports now on TV, and with many young viewers watching, we may see restrictions introduced regarding how betting companies appear on sports kit.
Changes to the gambling levy?
The UK gambling levy is currently voluntary and only applies to companies that sign up for it. The new legislation is most likely to make a gambling levy mandatory and use the funds generated from the levy to support people who may be addicted to gambling or who have been caused harm due to any type of gambling practice.
Whatever happens, with a new gambling act expected to be announced in 2021, we can expect significant changes to gambling in the UK.