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What do the new UK gambling laws mean for me?

Regulations are a constantly evolving fact of life, as society changes and new technology is created the law needs to keep up. This means that nearly every industry will have new standards and requirements being imposed upon it on a regular basis and the gambling industry is no exception. 

In fact, you could probably argue that besides alcohol and tobacco, the gambling industry has the strictest regulations of all the major industries. The law in the United Kingdom has undergone a few changes in recent years, including changes such as when adverts can be displayed on television and how to phrase casino bonus offers for maximum transparency. 

Recently, there’s been a movement to adjust the maximum stake permitted on a Fixed Odds Betting Terminal (FOBT) which recently came into force. This most recent move is likely to have an impact on betting shops as the reduced rate will have an effect on how they decide to implement FOBTs in the future.

In addition, there’s a discussion about banning advertising during daytime TV and also to ban gambling online with a credit card. If you’re a regular gambler then this adjustment to the law may well affect you. Here are a few of the things to look out for:

Fewer FOBTs

Not exactly a surprise but now that the maximum stake on a FOBT is reduced, it’s less likely that bookies will keep the units. At the moment, the maximum number of terminals that are allowed on the shop floor is four, but with a heavily reduced maximum stake this may be halved or even taken down to one. This will only really affect you if you’re a regular user of the FOBTs, but some of the other potential changes may have a greater effect on your day to day life.

Fewer bookmakers

According to the bookmakers themselves, a slash in the maximum stake from 100 to 2 would mean the loss of 15,000-20,000 jobs and cost the Treasury 1 billion in tax. This may also mean a number of shops being forced to close and limit the ability to place bets in person. Luckily, most bookmakers now run online sportsbooks and casinos so punters will still be able to utilise such a service, but the closing of shops implies a fairly heavy hit to their profits. This is probably due to the fact that FOBTs make up around 50% of a bookmaker’s total income and the loss of this income would have a profound effect on how feasible it would be for the company to continue to operate in its current format. William Hill has even expressed fears that they would be at risk of a takeover if the maximum stake is reduced.

Fewer adverts

Assuming the ban of daytime adverts comes to pass, then it’s quite likely that you won’t be seeing as many gambling adverts on television. This one’s a little different as technically gambling adverts already have to be after the watershed, with the sole exception to this rule being during sporting events (which are a special case as bookmakers offer services specifically related to a game as it’s being played) and the major affect would be a reduction in brand awareness. Additionally, with the goal being ensuring that children and vulnerable individuals are kept away from gambling brands, there have been calls for bookmakers to be banned from sponsoring football teams.

More risk of fraud

The rationale behind the credit card ban is a simple one, if you can’t use your credit card then you have to use money you have readily available, i.e. a debit card. But this, in turn, leads to a fairly major increase in risk as it’s far more difficult to claim back fraud on a debit card compared a credit card as this article explains. While this should hopefully not have a detrimental effect on your finances if you’re playing at an online casino, it is worth mentioning that the increased risk could lead to disaster.

How likely is it that the new laws are going to made into legislation?

The TV Advertising and Credit Card regulations are both recommendations at the moment, but the FOBT legislation has recently been passed through the House of Commons. Luckily for the bookmakers, America recently passed legislation of their own that will allow them to legalise sports betting in different states besides Las Vegas – a move that lead to an increase in stocks for established bookmakers in the UK which may help them weather any reduction to their profits from the new rate for FOBTs. What effect a change in the laws for advertising and credit card use would have, only time will tell. Exchange Blackjack Guide Free guide to playing exchange blackjack

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