The gaming industry has been changing quickly and in places all over the world mainly due to changes to legislation and new markets getting access to online gambling. More and more countries in Europe and Scandinavia have regulated their markets in recent years. Next in line is Germany. But the trend is not isolated to Europe or the western world. Cambodia has recently suspended its online gambling operations. Kenya said that it would not allow SportPesa to continue operating unless the sportsbook honored millions of dollars worth of back taxes. Macau is moving away from gambling and Japan is just about to get their first casino resorts. In the United Kingdom, the UK Gambling Commission just suspended EveryMatirx’s – a respected ggbet casino no deposit bonus company – gambling license.
As some regions try to get control over the gambling situation, others are just about to open up their markets. All in all, there are quite a few challenges that the industry is facing today, not only in regards to the legal aspects.The United Kingdom is perhaps the best example because so much has happened out there these past few months but the same is true for several other gaming nations across the globe.
Regulators Getting Tougher
It may not come as a surprise but gaming regulators have definitely got much tougher in recent years. As a result, a lot of what has been considered to be the norm until recently is no longer so. A simple example comes again from the UK where the fixed-odds betting terminals took a solid reduction in their maximum allowable betting limit.
For example, until April 1, a person could walk into a gaming shop and place a £100 per spin, but this has changed to a mere £2. The economic windfall has been quite substantial – in the sense that all major operators in the country lost a lot of revenue.
William Hill recently changed its CEO as the company closed down 700 shops, laying off some 4,500 employees. While some employees are now being re-trained to help with customer support and other operations, the bulk will probably have to look for new jobs.
This happened almost overnight and it exemplifies how quickly things can change. In all honesty, the reduction of FOBTs limits was a necessary one. These machines have been linked to suicide, which is a good enough reason for any politician to actually vote and do the right thing.
Yet, this move demonstrated how unprepared the industry is to such big shifts.
More KYC and AML Measures Needed
If we seem overly-focused on the United Kingdom, that’s only because the country has quite a few good examples to give and the government seems to be quite clear with their what they expect from the national gaming industry. The same cannot be said for the United States or Australia. Recent moves by the Australian Government reveals they aren’t quite yet sure how to regulate their sports betting market or how to handle the online gaming aussies seem very fond of. In comparison with these two markets, the United Kingdom seems to be reaching maturity.
What happens in the country is very likely to be replicated across the whole wide world. Therefore, the UKGC has decided that players can no longer participate in any form of gambling until after they have verified their identity. This way individuals who may be a victim of gambling addiction will be protected.
The restriction includes even the free versions of the games. However, the UKGC has not obliged some of the leading vendors out there, such as Playtech and NetEnt to demand registration to offer their products. This is also unlikely to happen. Yet there is more accountability when it comes to affiliate programs.
For example, affiliates that provide inaccurate or/and misleading information will now bring a penalty for the owner of the brand they promote. While this makes monitoring different advertising campaigns very difficult, it’s also a fair way to bring gambling companies to accountability.
The Lessons to Learn Also from the United States
In the United States, there haven’t been any big scandals so far, although New Jersey has been slapping sportsbooks – for the most part – with stiff penalties. The online gambling industry in the United States is still young, but one thing is known for sure – it’s subject to stern regulation.
There are a lot of regulations and legal statutes that help protect the customer. For example in regards to offshore sportsbook. BetOnline, one of these companies to operate offshore, has stopped offering or rather accepting customers from New Jersey.
Why? Because they are probably to work their way around the so-called bad actor rule. According to the bad actor rule, no offshore sportsbook that has offered bets or gaming products illegally may enter a regulated market. Of course, that’s up to each individual state to decide. However, in the majority of the cases, rogue operators are not allowed to be part of the legal offer.
Taxes on gambling are also growing. While this is an area where operators actually win on occasion, most lawmakers are eager to get more out of regulated gambling and as a result – companies end up paying more. In Scandinavia this has turned out to be manageable with an 18% tax, but in Pennsylvania, online slots carry the hefty tax rate of 54% on all online operations, which definitely puts them in a tight spot.
As we can conclude, the challenges the gaming industry is facing as we move towards 2020 vary greatly, mainly depending on the legal position taken by the governments of the various regions. Markets already regulated face issues related to advertisements, gambling addiction and fixed odds-betting as well as coping with taxes. New markets struggle not to lose control over the giant industry while others, still believe gaming can be banned and made illegal. Despite all of the challenges, one thing is clear, the gaming industry is not dead!