Labour’s Proposed New Online Gambling Act: What Will This Mean?

The Labour party’s new Online Gambling Act could have an impact on all online gamblers and online casino players, but how? People hear the term “Online Gambling Act” and take fright. They immediately assume that it’s all bad, but what do we really know about this proposed Act? The reality is that while most online gambling enthusiasts are aware of the new Act, not many understand what it’s all about. Let’s dig a little deeper into what the proposed Act is all about and what it will mean for the online gambling industry.

The Labour Party’s Ongoing Focus on Online Gambling Laws

It’s interesting to note that a little over 8 months ago (in February 2019); the Labour party was pushing for stricter online gambling regulations. The details of this are published in an article in The Guardian. The overhaul of online gambling laws that the party proposed weren’t all bad. The main aim was to impose restrictions on how much gamblers could wager and to put a system in place requiring gamblers to complete various checks, to curb them from placing bets that they actually couldn’t afford.

The last Gambling Act, which is still in place, was passed in 2005 and the party describes it as “unfit for the digital age”. The Labour party back in February called for online casinos to act responsibly by carrying out affordability checks on customers, to ensure that they can afford the wagers they wish to make. That was then…8 months down the line and nothing seems to have changed. But again, the Labour party is making some noise regarding a new Online Gambling Act and with the elections looming, people are starting to take note.

The New Online Gambling Act if the Labour Party Wins the Election

The Labour party, in the event of winning the UK General Election, has promised the citizens of the UK that they will be treating problem gambling as a public health issue. At first, as an online gambler, you might think that the Act is designed to ruin your fun or curb your online gambling interests, when in fact; it is merely designed to protect you and the online casino too.

Since the market was regulated in the early 2000s by the ‘New Labour’ government of Tony Blair, the online casino industry boomed. The industry generates billions of pounds per year whilst there are literally hundreds if not thousands of casino and casino affiliate websites operating within the UK. William Coombes is a writer at casino affiliate site Labslots, he states:

“Since the UK regulated the online casino market a decade ago, the biggest players in the online casino industry have generated billions of pounds for themselves and also for the UK government.

“However, it goes without saying that the world has changed since the Gambling Act which we currently abide by was created. I think it is time that the industry was looked at.”

What will the Act mean for the online casino network in the UK? Good things perhaps. The Labour Party is not targeting online casinos but hoping to work with them so that their businesses can thrive ethically.

The impact on both consumers and online casinos can be expected as follows:

  • Consumers:

The Labour Party wishes to improve consumer protection provided by the UK Gambling Commission. It also wishes to make the rules governing casino companies more clear, so that measures can be taken if a consumer is taken advantage of or treated unfairly.

Another possible inclusion in the Act is disallowing consumers to use credit cards to pay for online gambling, which will help consumers avoid unwarranted debt.

The Act will also aim to help problem gamblers avoid making poor choices by cutting back on the amount of exposure the population has to online gambling advertising, especially those currently targeted for running during live sports broadcasts.

  • Online gambling companies:

Online gambling companies can expect to carry out affordability assessments on gamblers to ensure that they do not place wagers that they cannot afford. This might seem tedious to a casino owner or may strike fear into their hearts regarding profits/sales. However, it’s not all bad as it will actually minimize the amount of debt that a casino has to eventually write off as “bad debt”.

The Labour Party also proposes that casinos limit the amount that an individual can wager in total and how fast they can burn through that total amount. This will ensure that the casino can operate ethically, without contributing to the challenges faced by problem-gamblers problems. It also serves to alert casinos to online gamblers who are displaying potentially heath-hazard behaviour.

The limits and controls set in place will also help to safeguard online casinos that currently inadvertently take advantage of vulnerable people (without even knowing it). The Labour Party earlier this year referred to a specific case where a young man with a brain injury and a gambling addiction managed to lose £210,000 in online betting. Online casinos will have more peace of mind that the measures in place are protecting their customers as well as the integrity and public image of their business.

What Does the Labour Party’s Proposed Online Gambling Act Mean for Gamblers and Online Casinos?

The UK Gambling Commission tells us, in their Review of Online Gambling report in March 2018, that the industry generates £4.7 billion pounds each year. The new Act means a positive change in a thriving industry. While it might seem obscurely aimed at curbing gambling, it could simply mean that it directs those who can afford to gamble to the online casinos and serves to protect those who cannot afford to. That’s a win for both gamblers and online casinos – at least some would think!