Latest Regulations Aim To Make Gambling Safer and Fairer in the UK

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In May 2019 the latest regulations to be imposed by the UK Gambling Commission came into force, with the stated aim of making the industry ‘safer and fairer’.

From 7th May UK players are no longer allowed to gamble with real money, or play games for free, without first verifying their date of birth, name and address as a minimum. Previously operators had a 72-hour window in which to carry out checks whilst withdrawals were not permitted during this timeframe.

With more information on their customers from registration, casino and betting operators should be better placed to spot criminal activity early, prevent problem gamblers from depositing on their sites, and process withdrawals without delay. The new rules will also prevent under 18s from accessing free-to-play slot and table games before they are legally old enough to play for real.

Some gamblers will see providing all this extra information though scans of passports, driving licenses and utility bills as an onerous task and another annoying hurdle to get over before making their first deposit and playing for real, but the reality is, it will create a better environment for everyone in the longer term.

The best advice for any online gambler in the UK who frequently sign up to new sites, is to keep copies of their ID readily accessible on their computers to provide as and when needed.

One of the biggest benefits for gamblers should be an end to delays in processing withdrawals.  The UK GC has received complaints in the past that operators deliberately procrastinated on withdrawals by asking for extra forms of ID before processing payments.

Under the most recent rules the gambling sites will have to ask for all ID up front and cannot do so as a condition of cashing out.

The new regulations follow restrictions imposed on the maximum bet at Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) in the UK. The max bet was reduced from £100 to £2 from 1st April with the intention of preventing vulnerable gamblers from losing large amounts of money in a short space of time.

Is a Ban on Credit Card Gambling To Follow?

The UK Gambling Commission continues to look into new ways to make gambling in the jurisdiction safer. The commission is currently investigating the use of credit cards to make deposits with a view to introducing an outright ban. It is estimated that around 10% to 20% of deposits made at online gambling sites in the UK are done through a credit card.

The aim of the ban would be to prevent problem gamblers from using money that is not their own and that they cannot afford to pay back, to fund their bets.

How effective such a ban would be is up for debate. For example, it would not stop players from funding an eWallet account and circumventing the rules by depositing at Paypal slot sites and casinos without direct use of their credit card.

However, as part of a wider drive that includes the Gamstop self-exclusion database, the FOBT max bet reductions and the latest account verification rules, a credit card ban may yet be seen as a worthwhile measure to service the UK GC’s remit to protect the vulnerable.

Whatever action is taken on credit card, it seems clear that the UK gambling market will continue to see further regulation imposed in the coming months and years.

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