The gambling industry is a constantly shifting landscape. New technology, new trends, and even new legislation. Crypto gambling made the need to bring the UK’s gambling laws into the digital age even more pressing. The government recently announced that it would begin the process of conducting a review of the 2005 Gambling Act. Read on to know about the UK’s Gambling Act review:

Fifteen years is a long time in the modern world. The existing UK Gambling Act act came at a time before the first iPhone was in existence, and online gambling was not the force it is today. Today, Bitcoin gambling games like Bitcoin Crash operate outside the purview of this act. The need to modernize the legislation is a matter of necessity at this point.

Accordingly, Prime Minister Boris Johnson hinted at the review when he came into power. The government will seek to prioritize consumer safeguards, advertising standards, and online protections. 

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) will take the lead in asking the relevant questions that form part of the review process. UK gamers enjoying the best crypto games may want to keep a close eye on the review process. 

Some of the leading questions will include questions on the effect of stake and deposit limits, rules on advertising, among other issues. There will be a total of 45 questions that inform the review process. Overall the objectives are as follows:

  1. Examining whether new regulations are necessary with technology evolution.
  2. Striking a balance between consumer freedom and harm prevention.
  3. Protecting consumers on online or retail platforms.

Here are some core areas for discussion about the UK’s Gambling Act:

  • Online Gambling

This is evidently the elephant in the room. The most significant change over the past fifteen years has been the growth of online gambling, and later crypto gambling platforms like BC Game.  This review process of the UK’s Gambling Act will look into whether the existing protections are adequate for online gamblers and the regulation of online operators.

Both sides will weigh on controlling parameters such as a stake, speed, and testing requirements for online games. The applicability and economic sense of any proposed regulations will factor into the review process. 

Notably, “white label” operators will come under special scrutiny. The DCMS is looking into whether they pose more risk to customers. 

The delivery and payment methods in online channels are also an area of interest. Blockchain technology is changing the way finance works and DCMS will be keen on identifying any loopholes and risks with the new payment methods.

  • Marketing

This is another aspect of gambling that has undergone significant changes in the past decade. With digitization, the review will look into whether there are harms and benefits of licensed operators making promotional offers.  Alternatively, DCMS may consider a ban on the marketing of bonuses because of the harms associated. The review will likely not go for a total ban but instead more targeted regulations on marketing. 

Gambling platforms sponsoring sports clubs are always controversial. This review will look into the pros and cons of advertising in general and possibly develop some regulations in this regard.  The review will also consider whether the mandatory safe gambling messages that have to accompany gambling marketing campaigns are effective. 

  • Powers of the Gambling Commission 

The regulator itself will come under consideration, and questions asked as to whether its roles and powers are effective with the changing gambling landscape. 

Going forward, the regulator’s powers will be relevant in case there are new regulations to enforce. There has to be a change in its roles and powers the commission will have a significant role in a more restricted gambling environment, should the review so dictate. 

DCMS will look at evidence from relevant stakeholders before coming up with recommendations. Evidence about the activities and size of black market operators will also be useful in determining the role of the regulator moving forward.  At present, many gamblers utilize unlicensed operators.  The ease of such access in the UK will inform the role of the regulator moving forward. 

Questions about the commission will likely be separate from other questions. The review will also consider the necessity to change in the redress arrangements available and whether other existing arrangements can be applicable. Consumer redress and financial compensation for harm suffered are an important consideration as well. Additionally, the power of licensing and local authorities to provide and enforce premise licenses will come under question. 

DCMS will also take evidence as to whether the regulator can enforce existing measures against underage gambling effectively.  Evidence on underage gambling will be varied and the appropriateness of proposed measures based on broad-based consensus. 

In Summary

From the aforementioned, reviewing the gambling legislation of a country is an all-encompassing affair.  

Online gambling has changed so much from traditional gambling, and legislation should catch up. The UK government must not fall into the restrictive and paternalistic regulation approach that will suffocate this sector. 

Instead, DCMS should take a collaborative approach that accommodates consumer protection and the facilitative role of regulators.  

Tilting either way too much will be a dereliction of its role. It will be fascinating to track the results of this review and whether other jurisdictions will adopt a similar approach.