The UK Urged to Pursue a Digital Gambling Regulatory Framework

6 Aug 2020

UK’s SMF (Social Market Foundation) has published a report encouraging the UK government to update its ‘analogue’ gambling act of 2005, to make it more relevant to the digital age. According to the SMF, online gambling has been growing and evolving, and as such, the old gambling rules aren’t sufficient enough to govern the burgeoning iGaming industry.

After lengthy consultations in the Parliament with regulators and affiliated bodies, the UK has released a report that will serve as a blueprint to pave way for a new era of gambling regulations. The report outlines a range of initiatives that are intended to establish fairness in the market while regulating it more effectively to ensure that fewer people are exposed to the pain of harms related to gambling. Here’s a highlight of some of the key points addressed by the report:

  • Games – The report pushes for the establishment of a system of legislation for online gambling which revolves around limitations on the speed of playing and the amount to be staked. For virtual slot games, the report recognizes the current regulatory measures of the bet limits within a regulatory established amount which ranges from £1 and £5. Other than online slot content, the report also acknowledges that limiting the stake amount on non-slot content will make them financially impossible and thus, the authors of the report are pushing for the limits to be set for in-game dynamics.
  • Licensing – Regulatory failure and underperformance in the online gambling industry has battered the integrity of British gambling licenses. The report is now recommending ways to rejuvenate the integrity and credibility of gambling licenses issued in the UK. For instance, it recommends the introduction of a mandatory benchmark for all operators with UK licenses. This will ensure transparency in the system of regulatory laws.
  • Affordability – The report also proposes a model for affordability based on a thorough analysis of the salary and the individual’s living standards. Specifically, the report recommends a deposit limit of £100 every month. This deposit limit reflects what most of the gamblers are already betting.
  • Tax – On matters regarding taxes, the report recommends that the Government should review taxation since 2014. According to the report, the Government should assess the changes to gambling duty from one operator to another, in relation to factors such as market footprint.

Regulatory Basis for Gambling – The authors of the report claim that the current multilateral regulatory agreement should be substituted with a modern inter-departmental Gambling Group of Four. This means that the current regulatory group (DCMS) will not continue to be a government body with oversight on issues about gambling. The new group will create a new Gambling Licensing Authority which will be sponsored by the MOJ. The MOJ will also be a new gambling supervisory body which again will be sponsored by the BEIS.

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