How will the UK online gaming industry be affected by the new regulatory changes?
Over the past decade the online gaming industry in the UK has grown rapidly. This extensive growth is also represented in statistics of the UK Gambling Commission.
Since 2009 when the regulator released its first financial report, online betting and gambling series have extended their generated amount from £817 million up to an amount of £4.5 billion in the period from 2015 to 2016. Thus, the iGaming sector is the biggest one the in UK gambling industry and is expected to grow even further.
Last year, the gaming industry in the UK has been subject of extensive media coverage. This was due to the Government’s release of its gambling review last October which focused on the iGaming and the market regulation.
Concerns were raised that the sector has extended to a level that demands extra, more strict regulations. Especially for operators who obeyed existing rules, high sanctions were imposed. Particularly for services and products which can lead to addiction or other mental health issues, proper regulations are necessary.
A number of fines was imposed by the UK Gambling Commission in the past months. They include, for example, seven-figure ones to operators which are not providing their clients with socially responsible services and also for not promoting these in a responsible way as in using advertising codes or principles.
Operators addressing the market in the UK are required to stick to these principles. They are obliged to follow the CAP Code of the Advertising Standards Authority as well as the Licence conditions and codes of practice by the UK Gambling Commission.
All iGaming operators need to assure that the marketing of their brand is executed in a legal manner on all available mediums, also including their affiliate partners. Especially since affiliated marketing has risen to a key element for operators to reach more players. The recent changes in the regulators also affect them.
Overall, operators should be open and transparent when advertising their products. They need to show that they realise both the benefits and the risks of their offering.
But also several critics have risen their voice and expressed their concerns about the future of the UK online gambling industry. They are concerned that the market is over-regulated and that the new regulations could have an impact on the market’s growth.
Players and operators could be repulsed by the rules and it could even increase the black-market activities. Which would further reduce the tax incomes from the industry.