UK online slots sites, casinos and the Betting and Gaming Council (BCG) have made known their support for the upcoming government review into the 2005 Gambling Act but have reiterated the need for the right balance to be struck to protect UK gamblers.

The BGC stated that the UK Gambling review must strike the right balance, or it risks driving millions of gamblers towards the black market. The UK government is due to set its plans for the future of gambling in the UK next month (January 2022) and the Council chief executive Michael Dugher has challenged anti-gambling prohibitionists. Dugher has stated that further restrictions on UK gamblers “may end up having the opposite effect” and will see punters abandoning United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) licensed gambling operators altogether.

The UKGC oversees all gambling in the United Kingdom and any gambling operator wishing to offer its services to the UK public must first be granted a license to do so by the UKGC. However, it is still possible for UK punters to play at online gambling sites which do not have a UKGC license.

The concern is that if player restrictions such as betting limits are put into practice, punters may play at unregulated operators where no such restrictions are forced upon them. According to a YouGov poll commissioned by the BGC last March, 51% of over 1,500 people surveyed said they were opposed to being told how much they could bet.

Safer Gambling Sites

According to the UKGC, problem gambling has fallen from 0.6% to 0.3% between September 2020 and 2021. The reason for this is likely due to the work done by online casinos and slots sites in the UK to promote safer gambling measures. Responsible Gambling bodies such as BeGambleAware are consciously promoted by all UKGC gambling operators online. In addition, all UKGC licensed operators are required to opt in to GAMSTOP, the gambling self-exclusion scheme where players can restrict themselves from accessing any and all licensed gambling websites.

Despite the naysayers, the UK is the safest, fairest and most tightly regulated gambling market in the whole world.

Gambling Supports Over 119,000 Jobs

One of the main concerns of the anti-gambling lobby has been that gambling companies are lobbying sitting MPs. Whilst this is indeed a cause concern, MPs are acutely aware that as well as being a safer location for online gamblers, regulated operators support 119,000 jobs and generate £4.5bn in tax for the UK treasury. Additionally, the regulated industry also supports a wide range of different sports including horse racing with £350m per year in sponsorship and media rights.

Likely Conclusions of the Review

It is expected that the government will begin by tackling betting sponsors on the fronts of football club jerseys as well as limiting betting adverts during televised football matches. As for what will happen to online operators, it remains to be seen. As aforementioned, UK online slots sites and casinos are regarded as some of the safest in the world, so it is widely hoped that any review into gambling will not look to disturb the balance and have the opposite effect of helping UK gamblers.


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