As you may expect, the UK Gambling Commission carry out regular checks on trends within gambling, how users are carrying out bets and making sure everything is running smoothly. As the way we place bets changes, so do the regulations that are put in place within the gambling industry. Although some people argue that the Government and the UK Gambling Commission are slow to act when it comes to implementing changes to rules, they do definitely look at user trends and behaviours before introducing new rules.
What Changes Have We Already Seen?
Although there are plenty of rules and regulations surrounding the use of online casinos, the changes we have seen over recent years have been mostly about land-based betting. For example, we have seen the minimum age for buying a ticket to The National Lottery rise from 16 to 18 throughout the whole of the UK. Over the past couple of years, we have seen changes to the way people have been allowed to use Fixed Odds Betting Terminals; including the amount that a person can bet at one time. Other changes that were made included how quickly a slot machine can be played and even how many slot machines can exist in one place. With changes in the regulations for slot machines in physical buildings, the iGaming industry has been expecting the same to happen with online betting. This happened at the start of the year when the UK Gambling Commission announced new legislation that would come into play from October 2021.
What Are The Changes?
Legislation from 31st October will impact speeds and the presentation of different slot payouts in the UK. Most of the changes that have been announced surround the promotion of betting in a safe and responsible way; with users remaining in control of their spending and aware of how much they have lost/won in any gaming session.
One of the things they have put in place is stopping the ability to reverse a withdrawal. Previously, users have been able to reverse a withdrawal that they have put in place in order to carry on betting. In order to help ensure that users don’t bet more than they can afford to lose; this ability is going to be taken away. In line with this, online casinos must also show total wins or losses alongside how long the person has been playing in any gaming session.
Other changes put in place surround the playing of online slot machines and ensuring that this is made as transparent as possible. No longer can the illusion of a win be given if the prize is below, or equal to the amount that has been staked – there also can be no illusion given that the user has any control over the outcome of a slot machine game. Autoplay is also being removed so that users must click each time they want to spin the reels of the online slot machine, and each spin must take at least 2.5 seconds.
All of this is to promote the user remaining in control of how long they are betting and how much they are spending – rather than allowing autoplay to take over and wins to be celebrated that aren’t really wins.
Is the iGaming Community is Worried?
With such strict legislation in place, you would be forgiven for assuming that iGaming Studios and other industry players are going to be worried about what this means for them and the future. However, the gambling industry is well versed in different rules and regulations and as such, has been expecting changes to the online industry for some time.
In general, most of them relish the challenge of new regulations coming into play and how they can adapt their business to suit. As an industry that wants to continue to thrive, it is essential that they keep up with what changes are being put in place and how they can adapt their business offering to match these new changes and meet the needs of their customers.
One of the things that customers want from the online gambling industry is to feel safe and secure in the bets that they make. This means regulated casinos where people know that the odds of winning being displayed are accurate, rather than being worried that what is being displayed is misleading or inaccurate. The new legislation and rules coming into play from October 2021 are all surrounding users feeling safe to place bets and spend their money online; which users are likely to respond well to. For this reason, it makes sense that those involved in the iGaming industry embrace these changes and be proud to follow them. In fact, there are plenty of online platforms that have been proactive and bought these changes already – rather than waiting until the deadline day which is the 31st October 2021.
Realistically, the UK Gambling Commission is likely to continue evolving and adapting rules as the way we bet changes. For example, the autoplay feature being removed has been introduced due to the fact that research by the UK Gambling Commission in July 2020 showed that users were losing control of their gambling spending habits by using this feature.
As technology is always changing so will the way that end-users take advantage of online casinos and gambling facilities. As this happens it is likely that the UK Gambling Commission will review what is happening and what legislation they need to put into place to keep users and the industry in general safe. Although you might assume that the industry would prefer users to be able to spend endless hours and amounts of money at online casinos, actually they would like the long term of the industry to be solid – which involves ensuring that the people using the casino stay safe, so that they can continue to use the casinos responsibly and contribute to the industry and helping it to thrive.