How European regulators are squeezing the online gambling industry

Online gambling

With a world pandemic still looming, job losses and a pledge to fight gambling, the European Gambling Industry has suffered some drastic measures in 2020. All brough to you by yours truly, the regulator.

One of the biggest changes and catalyst for change is being requested by the UK MPs, who are pushing for a change in the 2005 and 2014 gambling laws. The MPs feel that the UK has always enjoyed relaxed gambling laws, and in the digital era, things needs to be revamped, changed and cocooning the gambler should be paradigm. This is parallel with what both Sweden and Germany are doing with their gambling laws. Sweden has now imposed limits on the amounts of money you can deposit, bonus money and also marketing promotions. Te latter has implemented strict gambling limits in the market.

Question is, what will the future of igaming and gambling as a whole look like for all of these 3 countries. Let’s take a closer look at each.

The United Kingdom.

One of the pillars in the gaming spectrum is the UK. The market is currently heavily regulated by the UK Gambling Act of 2005 and 2014. One of the biggest taboos to discuss in the UK is the ever-growing gambling addiction. 

If we had to take a look at the income that the gambling industry generates in the UK, you could count a solid 11 billion of annual gambling. Gamble Aware has made an astonishing statement saying that 2.7% of the UK’s adult population do indeed have a gambling addiction. Gambling Leaders argue the annual figure, but MPs are already on board on a crusade to make gambling stricter.  The aim is to draft a new Gambling Act, one that reflects gambling online, digital gaming with the main focus being to reduce gambling addictions.

By mid-June 2020, over 50 MPs put their thinking hats together to launch and promote an industry of change in gambling. The goal is to revamp the gambling laws that were set out by Tony Blair under his Labour Government.  Some of the new changes that are being proposed include:

  • Total ban on gambling ads both online and TV advertised.
  • An overhaul on the current £100 limit stake limit on slot machines, bringing it down to a small stake of £2.
  • Total ban on VIP Loyalty schemes and bonuses.
  • Independent financial checks.

MPs stressed the importance for punters to be subject to independent financial checks to ensure the affordability. Let’s face it, which gambler would like to undertake such checks, that invasion of privacy?  Also, both this new measure and the lowering of stakes will have a massive impact on all gambling platforms available in the UK.

Having laid all their cards on the table, albeit drastic, MPs are sticking to their guns with regards to the proposed sanctions. Labour MP Carolyn Harris spoke to The Guardian and suggested that such measure would need to be taken to since gambling institutions would refrain from self-regulating and putting in some stops. Harris continued by saying that these charges are being proposed to safeguard the life of the gambler.  The banning of credit cards and the fixed odds betting is already a sanction that the MPs have successfully implemented, and for sure more is to come.

Backing the MPs, The United Kingdom Gambling has Commission has already been on board the trashing of loyalty and VIP schemes. In a statement, they pointed out that reducing gambling harms as a whole is their main goal. Maybe this is the reason why there are not to many new bookmakers in the UK market?

Germany

Legalising online casinos and poker will kick off from July 2021. This is bill and measure approved by German lawmakers. A new regulator is set to oversee all the gambling operations. Good move or not?  Well industry experts are quite surprised with the new laws and new regulations; operators feel this new move will not be easy on them.

Poker, Online sports betting and gambling as a whole will all be permitted in Germany, but this means new laws and regulations will also come along. Some of the rumoured new regulations include betting limits imposed on the player, hence limiting the amount of profit operators will make.   It is proposed that slots wagers will start off at a 1 Euro nd players would be able to deposit a maximum of 1000 Euros per month.  When it comes to media and advertising, this will be regulated to take place only between 9pm and 6am. If you were thinking about scooping a jackpot, think again and fixed jackpots will be banned when you play online slot machines. Another set back will be when the auto play function is banned, regulators feel this function will see gamblers spend more.  Another measure will include gamblers being banned from enjoying slots as a side play when enjoying a table game.

Illegal activities will also be the focus of the German regulator. Around 100 companies that are currently operating illegally have already been warned. A total of 10 have opted to seize their operations, whilst others have still to decide if to withdraw from the market or

Enforcement action is also set to continue on companies operating illegally. Around 100 companies have been warned in recent months, with 10 deciding to withdraw completely from the German online gambling market.

Sweden

A pillar in the gaming industry is definitely Sweden.  Some of the biggest gambling companies such us Leo Vegas and NetEnt call Sweden their home. The Nordic country has not suffered any massive impact with the coronavirus, and generated a 496.7 Million from gambling in the first quarter of 2020.  Having said that, this is one of the main reasons that the Swedish Government has set eyes on the industry and aims to put some stringent regulations in place.

When COVID-19 lockdown measures were set in place, the Government realised that acting quickly is a must. The goal was to protect residents from gambling addictions, hence some measures were proposed and set in stone. One of the measures includes a 5,000 SEK (400GBP) weekly deposit limit and a maximum bonus amount of 100 SEK (8GBP). By law, players would also need to set a maximum amount of gambling time. Like of not, Sweden has extended these measures until the end of 2020. 

Pushback from operators

All of these measures will see not just the gambler shift away from any gambling addictions that casinos might pose. On the other hand, operators who have made millions in the last few years, will not see the same profits in the coming months and years.  Gamblers seeking further thrills will undoubtably make their way to illegal sites, with no gambling support available. In a day and age when the US is set to loosen their gambling laws, Europe is deemed to become more stringent, more focused on avoiding gambling addictions.

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