Online Casinos in the UK Hit with Heavy Fines
The UK Gambling Commission has announced that it is fining four of its internet casino licensees. This group has set strict regulations over the online gaming industry over the past few years. Are online casinos in the UK going to leave the market?
There’s no doubt that things are changing here. The Gambling Commission is working to stop the spread of gambling addiction throughout the country. Today, we’re going to talk about why these casino websites are being fined. Later, we’ll talk about what this means for the online gambling market here moving forward.
UK Gambling Restrictions Increase in 2019
It’s well-known that the UK has the biggest online gaming market in the world. Most of the top online gambling sites in Europe are based here. This industry brings in millions every single month, yet concerns have been brewing over the issue of problem gambling in the country.
To help stop this issue, the government stepped up restrictions on gambling advertisements. Gaming companies here can no longer target anyone appearing to be under the age of 25.
Things went even further in February. The government began working to ban credit cards for gambling. According to the Gambling Commission, players are racking up significant amounts of debt using credit cards to place wagers.
In late April, the UK government announced a “National Strategy” to stop gambling addiction in its tracks. A recent study claims that over 430,000 people in the country deal with problem gambling. The exact details of this new strategy are unclear.
Online Casinos in the UK Feeling the Effects of New Regulations
Online casinos in the UK are facing heavier restrictions than ever before. The Gambling Commission is making it clear that companies need to abide by the new rules. Interestingly, these companies are being punished for
“slack attention to anti-money laundering (AML), customer due diligence and social responsibility obligations.”
The total fines on these companies amount to £4.5 million. InTouch Games Ltd., in particular, is facing heavy fees. This company is paying £2.2 million to the UK government. The UKGC states that InTouch Games’ anti-money laundering efforts showed a
“degree of complacency that it was a low-risk business.”
Each of the other four companies involved in these charges also failed to abide by the new regulations set in place. Betit Operations Ltd., another one of these companies, have no anti-money laundering or terrorist financing risk assessments in place. This company is paying £1.4 million in fees.
The Gambling Commission of the UK isn’t playing around. They are clearly fed up with the loose gaming laws that previously existed here and are setting a harsh example with these four gaming operators. What does this mean for the future of online gambling in the UK?
Will the UK Remain the World’s Top Online Gambling Market?
There are two schools of thought on the new online betting regulations in the UK. On one hand, it’s great to see this country work to combat gambling addiction. On the other hand, these harsh restrictions being set in place may eventually push some websites to leave the market.
Another issue is Brexit. The UK’s withdrawal from the EU will almost surely have some major implications on its gambling industry. If revenue earnings dip, online casinos in the UK may head elsewhere.
Things are still looking good for now. As we mentioned earlier, it’s unclear exactly what steps the UK plans to take with the new National Strategy. The Public Health England group is currently reviewing how gambling is affecting the population.
The UK remains the biggest online betting destination in the world. If however, regulations become too severe, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see some of these companies change locations. Only time will tell.
Do you think online casinos in the UK will ever leave this market? What does the future of the United Kingdom’s online gambling industry look like? Let us know in the comment section below!
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