Further Delay of Gambling Legislation Overhaul Might Harm Players
In recent media posts, the UK Government has proposed that more time be given to overhauling the country's gambling industry. But this delay has rubbed the anti-gambling campaigns the wrong way. They believe that this may result in negative consequences. Free casino bets in the UK are among the things that entice people to play online. A free bet casino should follow the regulations and guidelines set by the UKGC to keep its players safe.
The Conservative Party has included the review of gambling laws in their general election manifesto. They used it to address the increasing concern of civil society, local politicians, and anti-gambling campaigners about the regulation of the British gambling industry. The industry is estimated to earn about £14 billion every year.
In 2019, the Government said that it would publish the white paper by the end of 2020. But the process has been delayed for various reasons.
Several sources familiar with the situation said they were not surprised by the delay. The UK Government would probably not publish the proposals for the long-expected overhaul of the gambling sector until another decision is made regarding the new holder of the next 10-year operating licence for the UK National Lottery. The decision for that is to be expected in February 2022.
However, the delay was found to be extremely concerning by some anti-gambling campaigns. Gambling With Lives, a charity organisation, said that recent research directly correlates and links gambling addiction to suicide. The research further notes that the delay of the planned changes in the sector's regulation could harm those individuals who have a hard time controlling their gambling habits.
Gambling With Lives also campaigned to launch an investigation by the Government into all gambling-related suicides. The group said that the review process had been delayed for too long, and any more time wasted would seriously affect more individuals and their families.
MP Carolyn Harris, a member of the Labour Party and the current chair for a cross-party group on gambling-related harm, said that the review process had taken too long to complete. She said that the initial commitment to reform gambling laws was made in 2019: two years ago. Little has been done to regulate the online gambling sector, and many people are still being harmed.
The delay has been partly caused by the reshuffling of ministers, including John Whittingdale being replaced with Chris Philip.
Philip noted that the white paper could be published in the next few months. He said that the Government was considering strict measures on the sector, including implementing mandatory affordability checks to prevent problem gamblers and vulnerable people from being affected by gambling-related financial problems.
VIP Schemes to be Key Targets in Overhaul
One of the projected outcomes of the 2005 Gambling Act overhaul is addressing the problematic VIP schemes that contribute to gambling issues.
As part of the current regulations, members of VIP schemes for betters under 25 require the senior administrators' approval of betting operators.
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) defended the current VIP schemes, saying that tough action was already taken on VIP accounts. They have introduced a strict new code of conduct which has reduced the number of players by 70%.
However, this seems to be not enough for gambling reform campaigners. They said that the UKGC did not prohibit VIP schemes in the new industry rules in 2020. According to MP Harris, the UKGC decision showed a close relationship between the industry and the Commission.
MP for Chingford and Woodford Green and a former Government Minister, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, said that gamblers are being driven to worse debt without the proper regulation.
UK Gambling and Online Slot Games
The UKGC is considering a crackdown on online slot games, which is one of the most addictive forms of online betting. They are looking to ban the features that make people place higher stakes and more frequent bets. Meanwhile, players should also learn how to place free casino bets online.
This is part of the measures outlined by the UKGC following discussion of the overhaul of the guidelines. The Government is considering various possible curbs in the industry. These include a ban on sports sponsorship, checks on what customers can afford, and restrictions on how to advertise betting.
The features they aim to remove are the auto-play functions and fast spin speeds. These features encourage people to play more. They are also looking to regulate the sounds and images that create an illusion that players have won when the return is lower than their bet.
These guidelines are another step in making gambling safer and are an opportunity to improve on these services. However, they did not cite any problem with providing free casino bets in the UK to urge new players to play the games.
Some 30 million people are known to gamble in the UK at least once a year. The average monthly spend per slot player is £67. With this, the regulator is facing more pressure to tighten the controls and guidelines over online gambling because of the increased activity during lockdowns.
Campaigners have also been calling for statutory limits on the maximum allowed stakes online. They said it is illogical to have limits on stakes on venue-based machines and not have regulations online.
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