Consumer Protection Focus of New UK Remote Gaming Rules

Earlier in November the Minister of Tourism and Heritage, John Penrose, called for changes in British laws that govern games such as internet bingo, poker,slots,  blackjack and many other casino games. For years internet gambling has been legal in the UK and regulations have been place to protect the public. The UK Gambling Commission released figures that showed that showed an increase in the popularity of internet gaming in the United Kingdom.

Penrose has suggested that all internet gambling sites accepting wagers from players in the UK be required to obtain UK gaming licenses. Penrose hopes the move will protect UK players from being exploited by unscrupulous gambling operators. Penrose told reporters that “Overseas operators get an unfair advantage over UK based companies, and British consumers who gamble online may have little or no protection depending on where the operator they deal with happens to be based.” Currently offshore gaming sites can advertise in the UK if they are licensed in a jurisdiction on the UK’s ‘white list.’

Penrose says his licensing proposal will ensure “a much more consistent and higher level of protection for those people in the UK who gamble online.” Penrose also believes that the proposed measures will “help fight illegal activity and corruption in betting” and provide more protection for the public. Under the new rules internet gambling sites will be required to notify the UK Gambling Commission of suspicious betting patterns. Recent figures released by the Gambling Commission show a steady rise in the number of remote gamblers in the UK. The number of players is up 0.1%. Many experts say that the popularity of smart phones and other devices are responsible for the rise in the number of remote gamblers in the UK.  The figures also showed that 12% of all those surveyed said they had engaged in some form of remote gambling and 50% said they played the National Lottery.

Penrose wants to require all online gaming operators to obtain a UK gaming license and pay taxes. Currently offshore gaming sites pay a fraction of what sites located in the UK pay putting UK based gaming sites at a disadvantage. Consumer protection measures have also been proposed. Most UK gaming sites promote responsible gaming and many sites allow players to limit the amount of money they wager weekly or monthly. Many post links to agencies that help problem gamblers. For Mr. Penrose consumer protection is the chief focus of the new proposed regulations and policies.