Exploring The Regulatory Landscape Governing Online Casinos And Lotteries In The UK

July 22, 2023
Photo by Waldemar from Pexels

Following the recently proposed gambling reforms in the UK, gambling operators should expect some major changes in how gambling is conducted in the UK. The proposed regulation will have a significant change in how gambling is conducted in major companies like Lottoland lottery betting services that have casino and sportsbook sections.

This write-up looks at some notable regulations surrounding the UK’s gambling industry, including the recently proposed reforms, how UKGC resolves gambling-related issues and more.

Let’s start with some of the details in the 268-page white paper to understand how it will affect gambling companies in the UK.

The Proposed Reforms

For the most part, the proposed reforms are aimed at protecting vulnerable customers. They include;

  • Mandatory levy on gambling operators to help cover gambling treatment services and research.
  • Giving the UKGC more powers to combat illegal operators with the help of court orders and Internet service providers.
  • New stake limits on online slots should range between £2 and £15 per spin.
  • Player protection measures to safeguard vulnerable individuals before harm befalls them.
  • Review of bonus rules to protect vulnerable individuals from harm.
  • Close the loopholes used by under-18s to access gambling services both online and through cash-fruit machines.
  • New ombudsman in the industry to handle disputes where customers suffer losses due to gambling operators’ negligence.

The Main Role of The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC)

UGCK is responsible for licensing and regulating businesses offering gambling services to people in Great Britain, including casinos, lottery sites, slot machines, bingo halls, and betting sites. Its mission is to ensure fair gambling and keep criteria out of the UK’s gambling landscape.

The body also protects vulnerable players from possible exploitation by gambling operators. To achieve this, all gambling companies in the UK must acquire The Commission’s licence to operate in the country.

How The UK Gambling Commission Handles Complaints

As of 2023, the UGCK has fined two gambling operators, 32 Red Limited (£4.2m) and Platinum Gaming Limited (£2.9m) after they violated anti-money laundering laws. The Commission allows the public to convey any complaints about gambling businesses in Great Britain. It usually investigates those reports before taking legal action, including ordering the operator to cease operations, handing out fines, or referring serious cases to the police for prosecution.

UKGC Requirements for Adverts and Promotions

The Commission’s licence requires gambling promoters to adhere to the Advertising Codes of Practice stipulated under the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) guidelines. These rules prevent the following vices;

  • Misleading advertisements.
  • Targeting of vulnerable individuals.
  • Any information suggesting that gambling can offer financial solutions.
  • Featuring the images of individuals under 25 years (or appearing to be under 25) gambling or playing a significant role in gambling adverts.
  • Condoning or encouraging socially irresponsible gambling behaviours.
  • Linking gambling to sexual access, seduction, or enhancing its attractiveness.
  • Making gambling more appealing to children and the young generation, particularly by associating it with the youth culture.

Lotteries that You Can Run Without a Licence in the UK

Although there are several types of lotteries that don’t require a licence to run, you must follow their specific rules so that you don’t break the law. They include:

  1. Small society lotteries: Their intended purpose must be solely for raising funds for good courses but not for commercial use.
  2. Customer lotteries: These must occur within the premises of the business in question, and making profits off customer lotteries is illegal. The money collected must go to the expense of organising the lottery, including prizes.
  3. Private society lotteries: These ones allow you to sell tickets to both society members and individuals who are members of your society. However, they shouldn’t be organised for gambling purposes or financial gain. They can only be conducted to raise money for good causes or for fun.
  4. Incidental Lotteries: They can be conducted alongside non-commercial and commercial events. However, they shouldn’t be the main agenda in events where they are held.
  5. Work lotteries: These can only be conducted by workmates working at the same physical location. They shouldn’t be profitable but rather for good causes or for fun.
  6. Residents’ Lotteries: In this case, the participants must be living in the same physical location. No profit should be made from residents’ lotteries. Additionally, the proceeds can only be used for prizes and reasonable expenses.

UK’s Remote Gambling and Software Technical Standards (RTS)

Licensed remote software and gambling operators must meet the requirements stipulated in RTS guidelines. This includes offering fair games, protecting customers, promoting responsible gambling, adhering to anti-money laundering regulations, and observing ANA’s code of practice.

Based on the updated RTS requirements that came into effect in 2018, gambling operators’ systems must allow customers to choose if they accept price fluctuations that come after requesting a bet. This is because bets are often subject to price fluctuations.

Conclusion

The UK gambling landscape is a billion-dollar industry that must be regulated to ensure fairness and consumer protection, especially in today’s digital age. However, it seems the newly proposed regulatory measures will take some time before they come to effect. Most of them are subject to further consultations.

Nonetheless, everyone involved in the gambling industry (gambling operators and players) needs to familiarise themselves with the legal framework governing gambling activities in the UK to ensure they don’t break the law.

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