The US gambling industry has made great strides in the past five years. Over 30 American states have legalised gambling and more may follow suit. In terms of regulation of the gambling industry, how does America compare to the UK?
Regulating a gambling industry is extremely important. It is not one that can be left to its own devices as doing so can cause serious problems, especially for those that use the online casinos.
While many US states have made gambling legal, they still recognise the dangers of gambling. That’s why there is a strict process when it comes to issuing licences once gambling has been made legal.
This explains why there is often a long gap between passing the necessary legislation and the actual launch of sportsbooks and online casinos.
Licensing authorities will do all they can to ensure that those gambling are of a legal age to do so. Just as with smoking and drinking alcohol, underage use of the product is frowned upon. If sites are found to be allowing underage gambling, then action will be taken against them.
Promoting gambling to those who aren’t old enough to do so is also something that regulatory bodies keep a very close eye on.
When a state does make gambling legal, there are other laws that are put in place. Only those in the state can be placing bets on sport or casino games. Action is on the way from the regulatory body if this rule is broken. Online betting sites have to be careful not to be fooled by gamblers from other states who are using VPNs to hide their true location.
There are challenges ahead for the US gambling industry. While profits are being made, there is the fear that the taxman may become greedier in the future. US states haven’t suddenly fallen in love with gambling on the NFL or trying to win at blackjack. The tax revenues that can be received from the gambling companies is a key reason for a state to make betting legal.
With the US gambling industry going from strength to strength, the fear is that the legislators will decide to increase the taxation rates thus hitting the profits of the gambling companies.
There is also a close eye being kept on the levels of those who are suffering gambling harm. If these were to increase dramatically, then stricter regulation is likely.
Another area of concern is that of unregulated gambling. Despite the huge increase in the number of legal gambling sites in the US, there are still plenty of unlicensed and unregulated betting sites in America. Those who gamble at these sites lack the customer protection seen at the licensed ones. They also produce revenues that are not taxed and that’s something that US states are not at all happy about. More attempts to stop unlicensed sites is inevitable in the future.
Meanwhile in the UK, there is uncertainty in the gambling industry about what the future may hold. Those casinos that have been trading for years and new UK online casinosare finding it hard to plan ahead.
Why is this the case? Well, the UK Government has for a long time now been planning to introduce gambling reform. Such moves are not likely to be good news for online casinos and other betting sites.
It was back in 2005 that the last Gambling Act was passed. The 18 years that have followed has seen tremendous change in the UK gambling industry and around the world. One big move in the early years of the 21st century was to allow land-based betting shops to extend their opening hours into the evenings.
Little did politicians guess that with the arrival of the internet, 24/7 gambling was on its way. Nor did they imagine that mobile phones could be used to access online casinos.
All of this means the current Gambling Act is rather outdated. There is a White Paper on gambling reform due to be published. However, this was due to be released last year but the chaos in Downing Street has led to one delay after another.
It’s all very unsettling for the UK gambling industry. Rumoured reforms include reducing the maximum stakes on casino games. That would undoubtedly hit the profits of online casinos. There are also plans we believe to introduce stricter affordability checks for gamblers. This may lead to more players heading for the unregulated sites.
With restrictions possible on gambling and VIP programs, the UK gambling industry is facing a difficult time. The UK Gambling Commission is becoming increasingly stricter too with heavy fines being issued. It’s no surprise that some UK companies are looking at other countries to expand in and that includes the US while regulation isn’t so strict.