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Monday, July 15, 2024

What Does The New Gaming Legislation Mean?

There have been whispers in recent years that the UK Gambling Commission will be overhauling certain areas of the UK online gambling legislation. A move criticised by some as making the online gaming industry even more regulated and “over-regulated” by others, what does the new proposed reform bill mean?

Lancashire is home to one of the larger populations of online gamblers in the UK. Considering that, it’s a great time to get to grips with the current gambling laws and those pegged to come into effect this year.

The Gambling Act of 2005 made it legal for UK residents to gamble online and offline. Gambling is not a new pastime, but this act has made it easier and safer for those who like to bet on sports, play online casino games and slots, and all other products that accept real money wagers of some description. Whether you log into UK casinos online or like to bet on your favourite team at the weekend, gambling online in the United Kingdom today is highly regulated – and all for the better.

 

What’s The Current Gaming Legislation?

The current laws, rules and regulations set out by the UK Gambling Commission are enormous and somewhat complicated, so the points below are not exhaustive. Overall, however, current UK gambling laws are designed to ensure that UK gamblers only join operators which the UK government regulates. The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) is responsible for such regulations. The UK Gambling Commission, or “UKGC” for short, oversees everything related to gaming in the UK, including online and offline gambling:

UK Gaming Licenses

Thanks to regulation, the UKGC can award licences to operators who want to offer their services to UK gamblers. Obtaining a license is no easy feat and is rather costly, which means any company that holds a license will be legit. The UKGC also has the power to issue fines for operators not adhering to the rules, which has been a regular event recently, with penalties reaching nearly £20 Million per strike.

KYC & Due Diligence

Furthermore, you must be at least 18 to gamble legally in the United Kingdom, offline and online. All gambling operators, including online operators, are legally obliged to ensure that customers are over 18 by requesting them to verify their ID and address. This means every person must prove, with a copy of their valid ID and utility bill, that they are of legal age and it’s them using their gaming account and not someone else and, more often than not, will have to satisfy anti-money laundering checks too. Some operators even have an over-21 rule to avoid any risks.

Government Tax

Gaming Regulation also taxes operators for the privilege. All operators must pay a 15% tax on all profits generated from the UK market, which is quite a slice! However, it must be noted that customers do not need to pay any taxes on their winnings. As mentioned above, other revenues that the UKGC generate often come from fines issued to operators that have fallen foul of their license obligations. Penalties can be worth up to millions of pounds in revenue per year.

 

What Are The Proposed Changes In Legislation?

The new legislation will likely come down even harder on UK gaming operators, particularly the new law requiring punters to prove that they can afford to gamble first by providing operators with bank statements and other personal data to satisfy their “Source of Wealth” (SOW) checks.

This causes concerns to some, as many gamblers have already signalled that they would not be comfortable showing operators their personal bank statements. Some experts fear that such invasive checks could have the opposite effect intended.

Some customers will likely start gaming with operators who are not UK licensed at offshore “black market” gambling sites that do not adhere to UK laws. Overall, this is much worse and more hazardous for the UK customer.

 

When Can We Expect The New Changes To Come Into Effect?

The simple answer is that no one knows the timeline of the “White Paper” reform, as no definite plan has been announced. So far, there have been rumours, but nothing has come to fruition. Proposals to reform the Gambling Act have already been shelved four times due to the number of new Prime Ministers in the UK over the past five years (and the pandemic has not helped to speed things up).

Rishi Sunak’s advisors have stated that the government has had to contend with more critical situations before they can get around to looking at new gaming legislation; however, the whispers we spoke of at the start of this article point to the fact that there have also been multiple reports that Sunak will approve the most stringent of gambling reforms. Only time will tell, but now you know what to expect in the possibly future if you play casino games, online slots or bet online.

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