With the anticipated Gambling Act review, this is expected to cause somewhat of a shakeup in the industry and as a result, a number of entities could well be affected by any changes that are made.
In 2005, the first Gambling Act came into play and soon after the UKGC (UK Gambling Commission) was formed. This initiated the regulation of gambling in the UK which meant that all gambling operators who intended to service the UK market were required to have a license granted by the UKGC as a minimum.
For this to happen, each operator needed to have a number of steps in place and following being granted to one, knew that they would be subject to constant monitoring of their brand to make sure that they were adhering to the legislation, which was chiefly put in place for the protection of the player.
The 2005 Gambling Act covered every entity to do with gambling in the UK including bingo, which at the time was just starting to move online. Since then, online bingo has become considerably popular in the country, with hundreds of different sites for players to choose from and new ones appearing regularly in line with industry demand.
Since the first Gambling Act, over the years, this has been the subject to tweaks and reviews. The latest proposed review, which falls under the governance of the DCMS (Department for Culture, Media and Sport), is expected to consider changes to key areas that have come under scrutiny recently in relation to Responsible Gambling. For sure, even the best new bingo sites are likely to be affected in terms of what they can and cannot do.
How the proposed changes could affect online bingo
One of the topics that was been put under the spotlight is maximum wagering limits (across the board). The main reason for this was to try and curb the amount of money that people are wagering at online gambling sites, with online bingo also included in this.
The question up for debate is whether or not these spend limits should be applied to everyone, or whether it is implemented based on an affordability limit, which suggests a possible overhaul of the KYC (Know Your Customer) policy. This policy is required under the legislation of the UKGC, which requires all bingo operators to effectively vet new customers at the registration stage with questions about their source of funds.
Between October 2018 and September 2019, the UK bingo market brought in over £1 billion in revenue, which has gradually led to concerns relating to responsible gambling. One debate among online bingo players is that they do not necessarily classify it as gambling, because it differs in the traditional sense of the word. However, fundamentally, it is. Ultimately, players buy a bingo card with no guarantee that they will get anything back in return, apart from the experience of playing.
For bingo operators, it could well have been the case that they might not be subject to many of the proposed Gamblign Act review changes, because some bingo sites do differ from online gambling sites and typically do not necessarily present a feeling of gambling.
What is for certain, is that change is coming, with tighter control over not just wagering limits, but also underage gambling, marketing and advertising.