The online gambling industry in the United Kingdom is on track to become a much safer environment in 2020 as newly introduced rules start to have an impact.
The UK Gambling Commission has been working hard with betting sites and other interested parties over the past few years to establish a more trustworthy landscape within the sector.
New regulations covering age verification and advertising are at the forefront of the changes that have been made, both of which are expected to improve public perception of the industry.
Read on as we take a closer look at the new regulations which will herald a safer future for the UK’s online gambling industry in 2020.
Age verification protects vulnerable people
The UKGC has introduced new rules which require online operators to tighten up their age verification processes.
Betting companies had previously been allowed 72 hours to conduct age checks, but that left the door open for children to gamble.
A study in 2018 found that the number of children classified as having a gambling problem had risen to more than 50,000 in just two years.
The UKGC moved to address this issue by introducing new rules that require operators to verify a customer’s age before they can deposit funds, gamble with their own money or use a free bet or bonus.
Customers must also be age verified before they are allowed to play free versions of any gambling games online.
Each operator must verify a customer’s name, address and date birth before they can gamble, while any additional information required must be requested and submitted in a timely manner.
In addition to reducing the likelihood of fraud being committed, the changes will help to identify individuals who are attempting to circumvent self-exclusion programs.
Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission Chief Executive, said: “Britain’s online gambling market is the largest regulated market in the world and we want to make sure it is the safest and the fairest.
“The changes follow our review of online gambling and our ongoing widespread regulatory action into the online sector. We will keep using our powers to raise standards for consumers.”
Gambling industry self-imposes advertisement ban
The gambling industry has previously come in for plenty of criticism for failing to get its own house in order, but it appears the culture is rapidly changing.
The decision by the industry to ban betting adverts broadcast during live televised sporting events was particularly noteworthy and will continue to be implemented during 2020.
The Industry Group for Responsible Gambling, introduced the ban back in August 2019, meaning no betting adverts can be shown during live sport events prior to the 9.00pm watershed.
Some critics have claimed that the ban doesn’t go far enough, with sports such as horse and greyhound racing still allowed to feature betting ads without restriction.
However, betting is seen as an integral part of both sports and banning adverts could have a major impact on their respective futures.
John Hagan, the IGRG chair, says that the voluntary measures will ‘drastically reduce the amount of gambling advertising on television’ and ‘complement the strict controls that already govern gambling companies around advertising on digital platforms’.
With the new regulations in place, the online gambling industry in the UK looks set to provide consumers with one of the safest betting environments in the world for many years to come.