Gambling regulations in 2021 are headed for a shakeup. In the past, there were very few restrictions on the online gambling industry. In fact, just last year the Gambling Commission was criticised by several MPs for being ill-equipped to handle the shift online. Many believed that there weren’t enough regulations in place to protect players. This led to the government looking into the matter in more detail.
In October 2020, the Gambling Commission announced new restrictions designed to make online casino games safer and less intensive for players. These new restrictions included the introduction of limits on spin speeds as well as demanding that online casinos display a player’s total wins and losses on screen. If you want to know more about the restrictions online gambling faces in 2021, then keep reading below:
Online Gambling is More Popular Than Ever Before
Over the last few years, we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of people playing at online casinos. However, last year, the number of people playing at online casinos hit an all-time record. One of the main reasons for this was the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic caused thousands of people to lose their jobs and almost everyone, except key workers, were told to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. In just a few short months, our regular habits and daily lives were changed dramatically. Both the mental and physical impacts of COVID-19 have contributed to an increase in the number of people turning to online gambling sites. In fact, research has shown that gambling services exploded in popularity during this period.
Although this is brilliant for the industry, many people worry that this could lead to an increase in the number of people becoming addicted to gambling. It is estimated that in the UK alone, 350,000 people suffer from a gambling addiction.
Online gambling restrictions are needed in the online gambling industry to protect players from debt and addiction. This is even more important now as, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, most people have more time on their hands to play and become addicted to these types of games.
Online Gambling Restrictions in the Past
In 1994, the first-ever online casino, Microgaming, was introduced in the UK. Back then, there were very few restrictions on online casinos and bookmakers. Many politicians and health care professionals argued that this left players at risk of becoming addicted or getting into debt. They also argued that regulations needed to be implemented into this industry.
In the past year or so, the Gambling Commission has introduced several new restrictions to try and protect players from addiction and debt. Some of these restrictions include:
- Banning the use of credit cards – to try and prevent people from getting into debt
- Increasing the age limit of playing the National Lottery to 18
At the end of October 2020, the Gambling Commission introduced several more new restrictions into the online gambling industry, including:
- The introduction of restrictions on free spins
- A ban on features that increase the speed of a game
- A complete ban on features that honour losses as wins
- Casinos are now expected to display a player’s total loss or wins
- Some slot features have been removed from games and others are more tightly controlled
Why Were the Recent Gambling Rules Implemented?
In October 2020, the Gambling Commission implemented several rules in response to growing concerns over online slot games. According to research completed by the Gambling Commission, online slot games currently make up over 70% of online casino games. Although these games are great fun to play, they have the greatest average losses per player of any online gambling game.
In the past, the Gambling Commission has cracked down on other similar products such as the fixed odds betting terminal, which allowed players to play casino games in shops. Now they have gone for the online alternative.
The new measures introduced by the Gambling Commission are aimed at reining in the addictive nature and the power of online games. Not only that, but these new rules also encourage online casinos to be more transparent.
If you want to keep an eye on your spending and you want to find a site that gives you an impartial opinion, then check out Online Casinos. This site not only has a list of the best online gambling sites in the UK, but here, the blog post breaks down the best online gambling options for you too. They study the differentials and look at maximum/minimum wagers to help you find a site that is perfect for you.
Are the New Restrictions Welcome?
Lots of MPs in the UK have welcomed the new restrictions. One MP that is particularly impressed with the new restrictions is the sports, tourism and heritage minister, Nigel Huddleston. He believes that these new restrictions will introduce greater protection and curb the intensity of online gambling which would reduce the risk of gambling-related harm.
The Restrictions Online Gambling Faces in 2021
Although there have been several restrictions implemented in the gambling industry over the last few years, we expect to see even more in 2021. In fact, there’s a good chance that we’ll see a ban on the sponsoring of sports teams and players by gambling companies in 2021.
Although many people agree that players and teams should not promote online gambling sites, this is an unpopular decision. Not only will the online gambling companies lose out, but so will the teams or players they support as many rely on the sponsorship income they receive.
Another possible change we’ll see in 2021 is a ban on reverse withdrawals. This means that players will no longer be able to re-gamble money they have previously tried to withdraw. The Gambling Commission believes that this restriction will reduce the temptation to continue gambling.
In 2021, we expect to see even more restrictions implemented in this industry such as restrictions on advertising and a ban on reverse withdrawals. All these things are helping to make online gambling safer for players.