The gambling market in the United Kingdom is strictly regulated, which is generally a good thing for punters. They can be certain to play at good casino sites and betting sites that are legitimate, play by the rules and treat them fairly. Some casinos are unhappy with the high level of scrutiny, but due to the massive size and tremendous potential of this market, are willing to make compromises. Major changes were made in recent years in regard to licensing and taxation and bigger ones could be around the corner. That’s because the UK Labour Party contemplate the possibility of reviewing all online casino licenses.
What exactly does the UK Labour Party have in mind?
Tom Watson, a Labour Party deputy was the one to break the news about his intention to compel online casino operators to reapply for operating licenses. His letter to the Gambling Commission and Jeremy Wright, the culture secretary highlights his concerns for the integrity of some of these operators. In the last couple of years, the number of gambling businesses that were fined has increased and four more were added on the list recently. These are apparently good reasons to initiate this procedure, which Mr. Watson claims to be in the best interest of the players.
The hefty fines of more than £4.5 million imposed by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission suggest that many casinos are failing customers. Because many of these delinquent operators have gradually pushed the limits of their agreements, the Labour Party deputy thinks that a change is needed. In theory, the decision of reviewing the licenses would provide regulators with the perfect opportunity to spot problems before they become an emergency. Given the high credibility that UK licenses enjoy, the decision to review them regularly would only enhance their trustworthiness online.
Which could be the consequences?
Tom Watson’s proposal is likely to send shockwaves throughout the industry and it has already generated mixed reactions. On one hand, such a measure would compel online casinos to stick to the rules and refrain from engaging in unfair practices. Conducting affordability checks, placing effective safeguards to protect players while preventing money laundering are some of the measures expected from casinos. There are indeed many who were found inadequate and were requested by the UK GC to raise standards.
The casinos are obviously not happy with this proposal, which would compel them to go through the licensing process once again. Leading operators are more likely to accept the explanation of the regulator that those who use the reputation of British sport should do it legally, while giving something back. Remote license holders are the most likely to run into trouble, as many of them have had a hard time obtaining the necessary license in the first place. There is a real risk for many of them not to be awarded another license, especially if the regulator has found them to have breached the license conditions.