Right now, the UK is the leader in the gambling market, in Europe and worldwide. It’s one of the most successful gambling markets out there when it comes to the needs of consumers and protection from gambling addiction. But not everyone agrees with the sentiment. This is notably shown in the doubled size of the black market and the popularity of other options for players that aren’t under UK regulations.
There are expectations that the upcoming Gambling White Paper will bring a solution to all the problems. That it will rise to the challenges of new technologies in the industry. But many also distrust the government’s ability to properly address all the arising demands. As a result, the publication of the White Paper was delayed many times. And despite reassurances by gambling minister Paul Scully that it’ll be published any time soon, it has yet to happen.
There are some solid guesses in the gaming industry about what the Gambling White Paper contains. Some examples include addressing the latest casino technology trends and their effect on players and finding a balance between users’ needs and gambling-related problems. In essence, players’ protection online as well as offline remains among the top priorities.
One of the more controversial additions might be tracking of players’ earnings, which could have devastating effects on the market. Other speculations include introducing a distinction between high rollers and casual players, and updated standards for game components such as wager limits, prize limits, bonus offers, VIP programs, etc. Another possibility is to have responsible gambling messages more prominently displayed, especially in adverts.
Some questions were also raised about the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (the UKGC) continuing with their duties. Specifically, about their ability to handle rapidly evolving casino technologies overwhelming the market. Black market growth also popped up on the list. How upcoming regulations will affect this trend remains one of the most critical issues. Will it curb the trend, or facilitate it? If players must pass affordability tests, it’s likely to see the black market grow even more. While there are claims that this tracking of earnings would be unobtrusive, only 16% of players would consent according to a YouGov report.
The review of the Gambling Act still isn’t available to the public and many are expecting more delays, despite all the confidence. The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS Committee) doubts the government’s ability to do an adequate job on this and they have initiated an investigation into the progress. Their main concern is players’ protection.
The DCMS Committee further confirmed their commitment to investigate all the harm caused by gambling and how the government should approach this issue. The deadline to submit evidence on the matter was February 10, 2023. This was also one of the reasons why the White Paper was delayed once again. Another obvious reason why the review was side-lined was the lack of stable government last year.
On behalf of the majority of UK operators and the Betting and Gaming Council, Chief Executive Michael Dugher spoke positively about the DCMS Committee inquiry. He stated that he was all for safer gambling conditions. But he also underlined the threat of illegal gambling under strict gaming conditions, citing failed attempts by other European jurisdictions.