The lengthy history of gambling in the United Kingdom has made it one of the most lucrative markets globally. Over the years, the law has taken different courses to protect minors and vulnerable adults from addiction.
The Gambling Act 2005, is the latest parliamentary act to govern gambling and also led to the formation of the United Kingdom Gambling Commission(UKGC). This is the regulatory body that supervises and regulates all gambling activities.
The evolution of gambling laws in the UK
Before the Gambling Act of 2005, the government had established different Acts to regulate gambling. The first regulatory efforts were penned down in 1698, making all lotteries illegal unless operating under the statute's authority. It was not until the 20th century that the legalization and regulation of lotteries and bingo halls commenced.
This was through the 1934 Act followed by the Betting and Gaming Act 1960. Under these, small lotteries were legalized and bingo halls were established as members' only clubs. Even so, the Gambling Act 1968, is what set the precedent for the expansive gambling industry in the UK. This was by allowing more commercial casinos to be set up.
The Gambling Act 2005
Online gambling and sports betting completely changed gambling through ease of accessibility, therefore, endangering minors and vulnerable adults. By 2005, this called for an update of the law in order to seal off any loopholes. Subsequently, the Gambling Act 2005 was passed and the UKGC was formed.
The Act had three objectives to fulfill which include;
- Prevent gambling from being a source of crime i.e., money laundering.
- Promote fairness and openness in gambling.
- Protect minors and vulnerable adults from addiction.
Since then, there have been several amendments to ensure that the law is fit for the digital age.
Gamstop in the UK
As a measure to ensure the protection of vulnerable adults in the UK, the UKGC has a requirement for online casinos to be members of Gamstop. This is a self-exclusion program that helps gamblers to refrain from any gambling activities for a duration of their own choosing.
To use the platform, players have to register on the site's official website and choose a duration ranging from 6months to 5 years. During this period, players will not be able to access any online casinos in the UK. In addition, punters will not receive any promotions related to gambling.
Are non-Gamstop sites legal?
It is legal for players in the UK to play on sites, not under Gamstop. These sites give players a way to bypass Gamstop self-exclusion. However, these sites will not hold a license from the UKGC. Also, these sites are not expected to market their products to UK players lest they lose their right to operate in the country.
What UK players can expect from non-Gamstop sites
There is a lot to expect from these sites. In this article about non-Gamstop sites, we highlight the advantages of wagering on these sites. Toping the list is that there is no limitation on maximum stakes nor bets to be placed. This is great for high rollers who prefer to place high stakes.
Moreover, non-Gamstop sites offer extensive gaming libraries to encompass different slot and table titles. The bonus offers are also extensive and offer players reasonable wagering requirements and easy ways to cash out.
When compared to Gamstop sites, players don't have to complete their exclusion times as requested earlier. They can always change their exclusion period when they feel they are okay to resume gambling.
How non-Gamstop sites are regulated
As mentioned, any casino that doesn't comply with the Gamstop mandatory requirement doesn't receive a license from the UKGC. While this may be one of the most prestigious licenses around the world, there are other renowned licensing bodies. These include Malta Gaming Authority, Curacao eGaming, and Kahnawake Gaming Commission.
Casinos licensed by these regulatory bodies also have to follow stringent measures and rules. For instance, these casinos are expected to ensure players' funds have been protected plus use encryption to protect and secure private and financial data.
What to expect from UKGC in future
Moving forward, gambling will only intensify as mobile gaming continues to take the lead. With this, the commission is expected to tighten sanctions and standards to curb any violations and fulfill its threefold objectives. Players can expect an additional reduction in maximum stakes.
Identity verification will be more strict to protect minors and reduce the chances of multiple accounts. Players will also have to prove the source of their funds in a bid to reduce the chance of problem gambling. Clearly, these changes will strive to be beneficial to problem gamblers.