Will the UK Finally Clean Up Its Gambling Industry in 2020?


In early December 2019, there were several notable calls for tighter regulation of the United Kingdom’s gambling industry. This mostly stemmed from the fact that a number of parties interested in the space noted that the existing legislation was not only outdated but did not also serve the intended purposes. The gambling sector has grown massively over the past decade thanks mostly to the rapid rise of online and mobile gambling, both of which were not extensively covered in the 2005 Gambling Act.

“The gambling act is absolutely certainly not fit for purpose in 2020 because when it was drawn up in 2005 we had about 18 percent internet penetration in the country and now we are at over 90 percent, so there is very little in the act that deals with online,” reads a statement from Peter Chadlington, a responsible gambling lobbyist

Already, the country’s gambling regulator has made tremendous efforts in order to reduce the risk of gambling-related harm and underage gambling. Even so, the country’s gambling industry is under more scrutiny than ever particularly due to cases of violations of gambling laws as well as increasing concerns of problem gambling.

What Needs to Be Done?

Unfortunately, the script has not changed much. In fact, it could be safe to say that, in some aspects, they have even become a little worse than everyone had hoped. Gambling companies are now spending more money than ever before on advertising. Cases of underage gambling have risen immensely according to recent reports and this has been largely attributed to the proliferation of mobile devices which are, as expected, the best ad medium.

Now, efforts by the gambling industry to regulate itself have been rather mediocre since they were essentially geared towards staving off the tough regulations from the authorities. Some of these efforts involved voluntary donations to organizations dedicated to fighting gambling addiction. Many of the gambling operators also now have in-house programs designed to protect their customers but these are barely working if the problem gambling studies that have been recently been conducted are anything to go by.

Now, while most arguments may seem to lean on one side, it goes without saying that cleaning up the United Kingdom’s online gambling industry will need to be a collective effort. The gaming operators have to be more responsible especially with regards to advertising and verification checks while the gambling regulator may need to consider more stringent laws. It is an issue that has been stretched quite a bit due to all the complexities surrounding it. 2020 might be different. Fingers crossed.

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