The United Kingdom is making online gambling safer
Gambling has been a popular pastime in the UK for many years now, but online gambling has exploded in popularity over recent times, as the convenience of being able to place bets from computers or smartphones has won out over heading out to the shops.
Thus, with this huge increase in popularity has come the need to make the practice safe and secure for everyone, and the authorities in the UK have recently been introducing a variety of measures to ensure that online gambling remains a fun and safe pastime for people.
The gambling industry is worth over £14 billion annually, according to the most recent figures by the UK Gambling Commission, which is the gambling regulator for the country. This number, which is valid for the one-year period up till September 2019, comprises national lotteries, bingo games as well as traditional betting at shops and casinos. The online gambling sector makes up over £3 billion of this amount, which is an increase of more than 5% over the same period the previous year.
This just goes to show how online gambling continues to increase in popularity, as more and more people use their mobile devices to play at online casino websites. However, there has also been a rise in fraudulent activity during this time, which is why the Gambling Commission has been putting out a series of laws and measures to try and curb these practices.
Many rogue and fraudulent operators have either been shut down or issued heavy fines in the last two years. The Commission has been trying to ensure that young people are kept away from such sites, that those who have addictions cannot play on gambling websites, and that those who use online casinos are given a fair playing field. The Commission has not been shy of going after the big names either – it fined global betting giant Betway a record amount of £11.6 million, after the company did not verify the origin of its customers’ money. This came about after one customer bet more than £8 million with Betway, losing at least half of it. Another fine for Betway occurred when a customer lost nearly £190,000 while betting on their website, but alleged that he had had little to no interaction with the company. Over the last year, the regulator has collected more than £19 million in fines from operators which have broken its rules.
The regulator has also banned the use of credit cards for online gambling, arguing that people should not be allowed to place bets using money they have effectively borrowed. This will prevent over 800,000 people who had been betting while using credit cards from continuing to do so. The aim is to reduce the potential for financial harm to customers, and it is a very welcome step in that regard. The commission has also brought in rules to dictate how gambling companies advertise their products, specifically so that they are not misleading or appeal to children in any way. Age-verification measures are also a must for online casinos to prevent underage gambling.