«Changes in iGaming Industry in UK
iGaming sector of UK has been tremendously expanding thanks to an incredible rise of demand. According to the latest figures, given by the UK Gambling Commission, the total amount generated by betting and gambling services in this country, is over £4.5 billion from October 2015 to September 2016. The total amount generated by this sector in 2009 is £817 million. It’s easy to compare those figures and understand, that the progress of the UK’s gambling industry is enormous. Now we can say, that this sector in the UK is one of the largest ones in the whole world. After the new changes, that we’ll tell you about, these parameters are expected to grow even more.
Unfortunately, not everything is bright and sunny in the UK’s gambling industry, because at the moment it’s facing some strong opposition, which is eager to use various resources for hampering this imminent progress of the iGaming market.
This year the gambling industry in the UK has been facing massive media coverage. One of the main reasons for it is the launch of gambling review from the Government in October. This review was focused on betting terminals, which is a very controversial and complicated subject. The Government depicted addictive nature of gambling and its negative influence on gambling customers in the UK. After the Government this topic is massively discussed by the media and the population. The discussions and arguments gradually covered all the segments of the British iGaming sphere. Many people say that since this industry has been rapidly and steadily growing, it needs some new rules, and they should be strict and severe. Some operators, reported to violate these or those existing rules, were punished. It became clear, that the situation urgently needed some distinct re-regulations.
It goes without saying that iGaming sector severely needs strict regulations, because its services and products may cause serious addiction and mental health problems. On the other hand, superfluously strict rules may become a trouble even greater than a lack of rules and regulations. It’s not easy and fast to find the balance between those two extremes. What’s more, the past several months have shown, that the Government is quite far from searching for this balance, which is very important for the industry that generates several billions in revenue. One wrong step here and the whole future development of this sector will be blocked.
New Rules and Doubts
In recent months several huge fines have been imposed on the operators, who seemed to fail to provide gamblers with first-class socially responsible services. Some operators were fined for failing to provide gamblers with the services in correspondence with their principles and codes, advertised on their websites and their promo campaigns.
Media attention was drawn to such events and thousands of questions were asked about the current situation of the gambling regulations concerning the quality of iGaming services in the UK. Many gamblers doubted operators' ability to comply with the existing rules.
Some operators were fined for violations connected with promoting their gambling services in correspondence with the existing advertising rules. Operators, working in the UK, have to follow the principles, enlisted in CAP Code from Advertising Standards Authority. Some important codes and principles are also specified in the License, received by the operators from the UK Gambling Commission.
Moreover, online gambling operators must conduct the promotion of their brands and websites in legal manner, embracing all the possible media and including affiliate marketing. This sphere has become the main solution for operators, willing to advertise their services and products for attracting more players. New regulatory movements consider both operators and affiliates.
At the moment iGaming industry in the UK is facing some complicated challenge due to many issues. First of all, it’s the fact of imposing several hard fines onto operators. Secondly, it’s a close attention and wide coverage of this topic by the media. And thirdly, it’s some reasonable worries of gamblers. All those factors predict a massive crackdown in the iGaming sphere. What’s more, its first signals are already here. Let’s discuss them here a little. The operators, located in the UK, have already been warned by the regulators, that they should expect even stricter rules and bigger fines for those operators, who will fail to comply with those strict rules. The regulators’ goal here is creating a more secure and reliable gaming environment.
The close attention of the regulators will be put upon the way, how the operators and their affiliates advertise their products and services. For example, how operators use sign-up promotions for attracting new customers. Some gamblers don’t clearly understand the correct meaning of “free spins”, as Gambling Association has noted. That’s why operators have been recommended to change this term, so that everyone can get a better picture of the true nature of this promotion.
To put it shortly, operators were advised to become more transparent for their customers, while advertising and offering them their products and services. Operators should show not only benefits of their promotions, but also their risks. It’s clear that operators are responsible for their customers’ well-being and they should provide their products and services responsibly. But it’s hard to say whether these strict regulations and huge penalties will ever make operators more compliant.
Operators and their affiliates are aware that all their activities, services and products are being watched very closely. Gambling sphere can become safe and secure only when operators’ services are provided according to some strict regulations.
The recent decisions of the UK Gambling Commission make us predict, that their consequences would be chaotic rather than clarifying. Since those decisions followed tremendous media pressure, they may seem too complicated and raw to make all the operators, affiliates and gamblers understand how all the services and promotions should be conducted and advertised.
One of UK Gambling Commission’s decision is prohibition on using cartoon characters for promotional campaigns of gambling operators, because those characters may seem too appealing for children. This decision followed an article in Sunday Times about this type of advertising.
Another huge issue concerns protecting children from gambling addiction. A last year research made by the Gambling Commission of the UK said that about 450,000 kids did gamble every week! Of course, simple removing bright images from gambling-related websites won’t solve this serious problem. It’s perfectly clear that new regulation are necessary in this sphere. For example, operators should make the access for children to their gambling websites as hard as possible. The corresponding regulations should become much more serious. Operators and parents of those gambling children are equally responsible for this situation. On the other hand, we can’t be sure whether discussions about pictures in advertisements can ever improve it. At least, the UK Gambling Commission has become a huge reasons for those discussions and quarrels between operators and affiliates, regulators and operators, regulators and operators’ affiliates.
The newest changes from the UK Gambling Commission have been followed by doubts and depressed ideas. The current situation in the iGaming sector shows that overregulation may mar the whole gambling market and even destroy it. It may make operators and gamblers run away from the country, it may cause the boost of black-market development, it may reduce the amount of tax, received from this industry.
We’ve following any changes in the UK iGaming market and we are planning to produce a large series of interesting articles on this serious topic. We will show you various viewpoints from various people, specialists in the gambling industry. We will offer you a deep look into the possible consequences of the coming overregulation. So stay tuned and gain all the interesting information right here!