Unique Challenges and Opportunities of the UK Gambling Industry
By Space Coast Daily // August 14, 2020
The UK gambling industry is widely regarded as one that is both profitable and secure. The United Kingdom Gambling Commission has the merit of maintaining a level playing field by regulating the industry.
The best bingo sites, online casinos and poker rooms, as well as top bookmakers, choose to apply for a UK GC license. Legitimate operators who don’t cut corners and are willing to play by the rules have a lot to benefit from being licensed by this prestigious regulatory body.
There are, however, challenges that derive from owning such a license, and even more are looming at the horizon.
For more than a decade, there has been a trend in the UK to tighten the gambling regulations. Members of the parliament are increasingly interested in passing laws aimed at protecting players from predatory practices.
These look great on paper and are well intended, but if implemented poorly, risk undermining the very foundation of the legal gambling industry.
Bookmakers, casinos, poker, and bingo rooms that chose to walk down the legal path are concerned about finding themselves at a disadvantage. That’s because they compete with offshore operators who don’t have to worry about tight regulation.
The UK GC has maintained a transparent approach and frequently discusses the proposed new matters with the involved parties.
Gambling operators are often consulted on issues that will affect them directly, and sensitive topics are discussed with the general audience.
However, some things are beyond the control and jurisdiction of the commission, such as laws passed by the parliament. The United Kingdom Gambling Commission has the mission of implementing these laws to its best ability in the interest of both casinos and players.
A trend has emerged to pass laws that would create a safer gambling environment, which often translates into higher costs. For some operators, especially smaller ones, these have become unsustainable, and many chose to pull out from the United Kingdom.
Others fall into administration, and as pressure is mounting from negative media coverage and legal initiatives, even the big players are threatened.
It is unlikely that this trend will lose speed anytime soon, as the MPs are hell-bent on passing even tighter regulation. For now, the UK gambling market is still one of the most profitable worldwide, but this could change.
Higher taxes eat away at profits
The most vocal part of the general public is against gambling in the United Kingdom, but the vast majority of people are in favour of a regulated market. There are plenty of happy customers who bet on sports, play casino games, bingo and poker at UK GC licensed operators.
They cherish the security provided by these gambling groups and the sheer variety of games on display. This has led to a revenue boost, which is likely to continue as UK-based and licensed operators also attract foreign players. They accept international punters, as long as local legislation doesn’t prohibit them from gambling online.
The gambling revenue increases steadily from one year to the other, but profits don’t always follow the same upward trajectory. That’s because UK lawmakers are keen on raising taxes and even introduce new ones to generate more money to state coffers.
In the months preceding elections, the negative sentiment against gambling operators is exacerbated. The industry gets most of the flame, and candidates are reluctant to defend casinos, bookmakers and poker rooms. It is during these trying times when new taxes are proposed and implemented, which eats away at the profits made by the entire industry.
In conclusion, the UK gambling industry remains one of the most solid and profitable in Europe. It is tightly regulated, and the licensing body doesn’t allow operators to cut corners at the expense of players.
At the same time, lawmakers are increasingly willing to introduce tighter regulation and new taxes. Navigating this eclectic mix of opportunities and problems remains a challenge for large and small gambling operators, but it disproportionately affects the latter.
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