The United Kingdom was the first country to introduce online gambling regulations and as such, boasts a flourishing gambling market that continues to grow despite the rigid rules set forth by the local regulatory authority, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).
The sector is regulated under the 2005 Gambling Act (which was amended in 2014) and allows for the legal provision of different forms of interactive betting. These include sports betting, online bingo, poker, and online casino games like slots, video poker, roulette, and baccarat. Online blackjack increasing in popularity among casino buffs based in the UK.
The Purposes of the UKGC Online Gambling Regulations
Unlike other jurisdictions where the laws pertaining to interactive gambling are murky, to say the least, the regulations in the UK are rather straightforward and easy to comprehend. All forms of interactive gambling are legal in the country as long as the respective providers of the services have been issued licenses from the UKGC.
The only condition online gamblers must comply with is to be of legal gambling age, which is 18 years old in this country. The licensed operators themselves are taxed on their revenues but this has no impact on their customers. Players are not required by law to pay taxes on the winnings they generate while betting online.
It is these adequate regulations that drive the growth of the UK gambling industry. The regulations aim at achieving several things. First, they prevent online gambling from being used as a source for funding criminal activities and money laundering.
Second, a regulated market preserves the integrity of the UK gambling industry by ensuring fairness and transparency. Third, it protects the interests of British gamblers. And finally, it prevents vulnerable individuals and minors from the harmful effects of gambling and gambling addiction.
Operators with a local license are required to contribute with an annual point of consumption tax amounting to 15% of their overall profits. A portion of these funds goes toward prevention as well as for assisting individuals who struggle with compulsive gambling.
The Tighter Regulations Protect Children and Vulnerable Persons
While we are on the subject of problem gambling, a recent Gambling Commission report indicated there was an increase in the rates of gambling participation for 2018. As many as 46% of the individuals who took part in the survey admitted they have engaged in some form of gambling in 2018 which makes for a 1% increase from the previous year.
What’s more disconcerting, though, is that 14% of the children of age 11 through 16 have partaken in some form of betting in 2018, using their own money. With gambling being more accessible than ever these days, the UK regulator addressed these issues by approving a new set of identity verification rules its licensees must adhere to.
The new procedures in the UK would require UK-licensed online gambling operators to verify the age and identity of their newly registered customers before the latter actually commit with a deposit on the websites, not after they seek to conduct a withdrawal.
There are several purposes to the latest regulatory changes. To begin with, the new regulations would prevent online gamblers from experiencing the frustration of having the withdrawals of their winnings delayed because of verification.
According to the UK Gambling Commission itself, as much as 15% of all complaints it deals with are those of customers who have struggled with withdrawal delays due to identity verification. Early verification would also assist the UK-licensed gambling operators in detecting frauds, money laundering, and other criminal activities.
The modified rules enable online casinos to gather more information about their customers in advance, before they actually start playing on the gambling sites. But what is more important, these improved verification procedures would create an extra layer of protection for underage persons and other vulnerable individuals.
Verifying the age and identity of customers before they have deposited would serve as an obstacle for children and teens who attempt to gamble on the web. The new regulatory verification procedures, which are expected to come into effect in May 2019, would also extend to free games preventing minors from the exposure to the harms of gambling.
It is obvious that as well-regulated as it is, the UK online gambling industry, too, is subject to changes. Most of these alterations in the country’s legal framework work to the advantage of consumers giving them the peace of mind they are betting in a safe and fair environment.
The future will tell whether we will see further changes to the UK’s legal gambling landscape. Meanwhile, feel free to check these super casino sites that accept play from the country – all of them are of good standing and operate under valid licenses, issued by the UKGC.