Over the years there have been many updates to legislation when it comes to gambling in the UK, most recently the likes of banning the use of credit cards for betting and the maximum bet on fixed odds betting terminals.
The end of 2020 was expected to see a new gambling act introduced, but with the country battling a global pandemic this has been pushed back and is now expected to arrive in 2021.
The aim of this is to set out a plan for the industry moving forward, with different parts of the legislation expected to kick in at different times rather than immediately. So, what can we expect from a 2021 UK Gambling Act?
Politicians and the powers that be have been in great discussions over this act it seems and while there’s no real knowledge of what it will include until it comes out, many UK bookmakers are expecting to see a number of changes to particular areas of the industry. This includes:
It’s believed that a big part of the new legislation will see VIP and Reward programs more heavily scrutinised. This is highly likely to come into play as it is believed that it can heighten problem gamling following studies and fraud is also more likely. Therefore we could see them eradicated, or certainly refined.
This is also likely to be the case for loyalty points, with it expected that more transparency will be required, in particular when it comes to the value of rewards in relation to a player’s spend.
Deposit protection has always been a part of the Gambling Act and is part of the current 2005 act, but what that doesn’t account for is should a company go bust. This means that if a betting site goes under, your deposits aren’t protected.
This looks set to change with the new act, ensuring that all customers’ deposits will be protected.
Maximum bet limits have always been a hot topic and following the fixed odds betting terminal maximum bet cap at £2, we could see this rolled out across slot machines and casino games. However, it is not believed this will be applied to sports betting.
Where sports betting could see more of an effect is if the new act puts pressure on sports sponsorship deals and advertising. It’s unlikely we will see a total ban at this stage, but restrictions could be put in place in which betting adverts are required to be post-watershed, while there are also fears that gambling companies may be prohibited from being official shirt sponsors of clubs.
At present, betting brands are expected to have a series of functions and features to enable people to gamble responsibly. This includes the likes of deposit limits, loss limits and the ability to suspend your own account. However, most are optional for the player to use and it could be a case in which these become mandatory, with limits automatically applied.
Other elements that could feature within the Act include online game timings, self-exclusion rules and ownership and license holder changes. This is just speculation at present though and nobody will really know until the UK Gambling Act 2021 is introduced.