It's been a huge month for the UK's betting industry, with the government introducing changes that could change the way Brits bet forever. And these changes could also affect global gamblers who use UK based online casinos.
As the dust settles on this month's events, it's time to take a sober look at what changes to the regulation of "fixed odds betting terminals". Is this a major step back for UK gambling, or just another step towards a more modern, popular betting scene?
How the UK has intervened to change the way we gamble
Over the past few years, British high streets have started to resemble collections of tiny casinos. Losing revenue on sports gambling to online alternatives, betting shops have turned to slots and other machines to fill the gap.
And as the number of fixed odds terminals rose, so did the losses accumulated by punters. By 2017, these machines were causing Brits to incur losses of almost £2bn per year, and stories were emerging all the time about how "addictive" they could be.
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Because of this the government has stepped in to lower the maximum amount individuals can stake on a fixed odds terminal from £100 to £2 - and many betting shops claim that this will throw them into poverty.
But what does this mean for the international online market, where UK operators are major players?
Online gambling is maturing for a mass market
The key thing to know is that changes to fixed odds terminals are being coupled with changes to the regulation of online casinos, who will now have to take more care to verify the ages of members, among a number of other new regulation in taxes and marketing laws etc.
They may also be subject to "affordability checks" to ensure that individual members can afford the bets they make (although the details of this remain to be elaborated).
Finally, taxes on online casinos will be increased via the "Remote Gaming Duty".
For responsible online operators, none of this is revolutionary. And it won't stop them expanding their global reach. What it means is that online gaming is maturing and being properly regulated. So what kind of casinos will thrive in this new environment?
UK online casinos - Who have a better chance as the industry changes?
Industry leaders like 32Red, 888 Casino and online versions of major chains like William Hill are well-placed to adapt to an era of heightened scrutiny on the gambling sector. Also new innovative online casinos as Dreamz.com, Playojo.com among a few other, that brings something new to the table, will have a greater chance compared to many other sites in this tougher times when the gambling regulation is getting stricter.
These casino giants already have the infrastructure in place to manage customer relationships and implement limits, and they have a strong reputation among players. So they should do well, regardless of bet limits or the need to monitor problem gamblers. On the other hand, larger companies usually take longer time to adjust to modernisation and new updates, so it’s crucial to get things right in time if they are to stay out of big fines.
One thing is certain, much will change in the online gambling business in UK the coming years. And it will be interesting to see what impact it will make on the companies in the gambling sector.