2005 Gambling Act Review

‘In the reveiw to reform the 2005 Gambling Act, strict UK affordability checks could be scrapped, Could it just be an overly upbeat wish!’ (Photo by Heather Gill on Unsplash)

The looming and much-debated affordability checks touted by the UKGC and government MPs may well take a provisional U-turn thanks to a proposed overhaul of gambling regulations in the country.

Currently, a review of the 2005 Gambling Act in the United Kingdom, some of it headed by the UKGC while parliamentary MPs and third-party experts are also involved. Surveys on the UKGC Twitter account and more are being touted with many of the questions related to bet limits and the affordability of gambling. Some are already suggesting that the affordability checks will no longer be in place. However, we have to ask at what cost?

If there is one thing, we have learned about previous Gambling Act reviews and overhauls is that nothing is ever black and white, and it seems unlikely striking off affordability checks will go without some form of a replacement. However, there is a reason behind some gambling companies’ upbeat view on the matter because the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is involved in the process, and this department’s past involvements seemingly has a liberal view on gambling, freedom of choice, and encourages a ‘free market’ commerce.

There is still the issue of rising gambling online, which the UKGC reported that there was a 17% increase in active account usage in February 2021. The worry is lockdown rules are sending people towards online gambling website which may be an argument to make affordability checks a key part of the new reform!

UK Gambling Laws Some of The Most Stringent in the World

UK gambling laws are amongst the strictest in the world with only the USA’s current set up, perhaps taking the limelight. The laws laid out by the UKGC leave both online and land-based casino open to a multitude of fines with the most common being the failure to sport problem gamblers and adhering to anti-money laundering checks while other common penalties include failure to state terms and conditions correctly or include certain clauses/elements and breach of advertising laws.

Also, in the past half a decade, the government banned the use of credit cards to fund gambling websites and heavily restricted slot machine manufacturers. All online slots at UK casinos remove the ‘quick spin’ or ‘auto play’ feature, while the spins must have a gap of at least 2.5 seconds between them – an effort designed to curb problem gambling in the UK online video slots market worth a remarkable £2.2 billion-a-year!

To further efforts to curb gambling addiction in the country, the latest subject to pass under the noses of anti-gambling big wigs is the proposed ‘£100 per month max bet limit’ restrictions and ‘affordability tests’.

The latter comes as a result of the former, or should we say a quid pro quo of the former which naturally gambling firms active within the UK are strongly against. Many firms said this would devastate the industry after sports betting companies, for example, are still counting the losses from a £2 maximum bet on betting kiosks!

Affordability checks are the new way for online gambling sites to have a chance of tracking or earmarking potential problem gamblers and is currently seen as a reasonable compromise versus the alternative!

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