Late in 2014 the UK Government introduced legislation requiring all remote gambling operators to possess a UK Gambling Commission license- from 2015 security, privacy and player protection provided by all bingo sites should converge, which is good news for UK bingo players.
The Basics of the New Regulation
For those that aren’t familiar with this development it was pushed through on November 1st 2014 and its main goal was to ensure that operators based outside the UK who were offering gambling services to British citizens were able to be held to consistent and firm regulation.
The UK Gambling Commission hope that this new piece of UK law will allow them to crack-down on potential match fixing and money laundering activities as well as improve transparency between players and the sites they’re using.
The law also includes a 15% tax on all online bets and new license fees for providers.
Plus best of all it will allow bingo sites licensed by UK Gambling Commission to link multiple accounts held by a player to help with self-exclusion as they’ll be able to enforce betting restriction on several accounts at once if they have to.
What Does This Mean For Operators?
What this new law means for non UK bingo sites is that they’ll have to apply for a new license in order to operate in the UK. They can apply for a new license online whilst still staying in their current location, which is great for those providers who wouldn’t be able to afford to move their offices to the UK.
So sites like Bingo Diamond who are based in Malta will have to reapply in order to continue operating outside the UK. Although they may need to change their software provider to one that’s compatible with UK based sites, but that’s very rarely required.
This new law from the UKGC could also affect potential deals between different providers, like how last year the Poker Stars and Amaya group had to move up their merger by a few months after this legislation was announced.
What that means is brands in the future that may be considering possible mergers or buyouts of other companies will have to make sure that there won’t be any potential law in their way when they try to carry out their business plans. It could lead to brands focusing more on developing themselves instead of selling out to buyers.
What Does It Mean For Players?
Of course this legislation has meant players have enjoyed a safer and more secure gambling experience as they can relax knowing that the site they’re using is being scrutinized at all times. It’s also meant that sites that this law has been enforced on are more open about where their player’s cash and details are going and what they can expect from their money.
It’s this opening up to their player base that’s benefited these sites so well as people feel more at ease storing their cash and sensitive information on them.
However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows as there are a few problems that have come up from this law.
For starters there’s now a 15% tax on a sites gross profits, which means these websites are now making less than before. So in order to cover their losses a lot of sites could potentially increase their prices or lower the size of their prizes in order to turn a profit.
Another issue is that there’s a loophole in the tax that some operators or players might take advantage of.
For example complex levels of player location verification was rejected by the Treasury and instead players can just their residential address they enter when they sign up. What this means is players who are foreign and are just vising the UK can play online games without the site having to pay the 15% tax they normally would have to if they were based in the UK.
So this could lead to an influx of foreign players, sites catering solely to this cheaper source of income or a removal of UK services completely if it gets bad enough. Although those are merely hypothetical situations they likelihood of them happening is very possible.
Although it’s not been in force for long this piece of gambling legislation has led to industry wide improvements, but what sort of effects it will have in the long run is something we’ll just have to wait and see.