Are UK Online Gamblers Facing Tougher Restrictions? 

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Online gambling activity is coming under increasing scrutiny in numerous territories across the globe.

Governments are constantly looking for ways to ban, control or profit from their citizens who play casino games and place bets using the internet. New laws are frequently created and passed with the aim of creating a more regulated environment for online gamblers. 

The UK was one of the first countries to establish a dedicated government-backed department, called the Gambling Commission (UKGC), back in 2005. This governing body was created as part of the Gambling Act that came into effect in the same year. The move pulled together several existing yet outdated gambling laws and regulations. It sought to build a framework fit for the rapidly growing online casino and sports betting space as well as existing high street bookmakers.  


The UK Creates a Safer Gambling Environment


Compared to many other countries worldwide, gambling in the UK is very highly regulated, both on and offline. Playing at any UKGC licenced casino gives players the safety and security that simply isn’t provided by many offshore casinos and sports betting sites. 

If any UK player feels that their gambling is getting out of control, they can always self-exclude using the Gamstop system. This is something that all UKGC licenced casinos must offer to help players block themselves from playing at any UK casinos for a specified amount of time or indefinitely. 

Although the system is a positive step towards helping players with potential gambling problems, there’s nothing to stop them from playing at non Gamstop casinos. These are sites that carry an international licence and therefore do not need to comply with the strict UK gambling 


Fixed-Odds Terminals Limited to £2 


The UKGC was quick to highlight the problematic behaviour surrounding fixed-odds betting terminals in UK bookmakers. These machines are accessible to anyone over 18 and traditionally had the ability to stake up to £100 on a single spin unchecked. However, it took until 2019 for rules to be passed reducing this to a maximum bet of £2 per time on all machines. 

This change has led many in the online casino industry to speculate that it’s only a matter of time before the same rules are applied to online slot games. There are currently no such limits in place, giving online players the ability to wager three figure sums on various slot games. 

Despite additional restrictions for online operators being announced in 2021, such as a ban on autoplay features, there’s no hit of lowering maximum stake limits just yet.  


Increasing Online Casino Game Restrictions  


Despite the lack of a max bet limit reduction right now, the 2021 UKGC measures have impacted online casino players in other ways. As previously mentioned, it’s no longer possible to hit ‘autoplay’ on any slot games at online casinos that carry a UKGC licence. 

This ban is designed to protect players from tearing through their bankroll before they know it. Players are now required to hit the spin button each time to ensure they stay in control of their actions as they play. 

Additional restrictions have been added in the form of a forced 3 second gap between each spin plus the banning of any celebratory graphics on outcomes lower than the players bet. This second rule is designed to stop games giving the impression that players are winning despite depleting their bankroll with each spin. 

The hope is that slowing down the rate at which gamblers can play will discourage them from chasing losses and betting above what they can afford. Time will tell how well this works in reality. 


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