Gambling is an activity that has been popular for centuries in the UK and around the world. Hundreds of thousands of people enjoy playing casino games each year and the way in which these games can be enjoyed has changed and adapted with the times.
While land-based casino venues were once very popular, many players now prefer to play online casino games. When playing casino games online, players benefit from increased choice and availability of games as well as the convenience of playing at a time and place that suits them.
UK’s gambling regulations
As the gambling industry has changed, so too has the way in which the industry is regulated and licensed. In the UK, gambling businesses are regulated by the Gambling Commission, who were created following the introduction of The Gambling Act 2005.
If a casino operator or betting venue wants to operate in the United Kingdom, they must pay for a licence from the Gambling Commission. If they fail to comply with the commission’s rules and regulations, then they risk losing their ability to trade.
There are three main principles that guide the regulations set by the Gambling Commission and other international gambling industry regulators. The first is that gambling activities should in no way be connected with criminal enterprises or any kind of criminal activity.
In cinema, the image often portrayed of the casino industry focuses on organised crime ownership in Las Vegas casinos in the 1940s. While these cinematic representations do reflect some of the underground criminal activity that took place in previous decades, today’s regulated market is vastly different.
The second principle that the Gambling Act outlines is that all gambling activities should be fair and transparent. Transparency means that all information provided by gambling operators to consumers must be clear, timely, unambiguous and displayed in a prominent manner.
Key restrictions such as minimum wagering requirements must be clear in the terms and conditions and available before the player signs up to a promotion.
The last principle deals with the topic of protecting people from harm and exploitation. This concerns young people under the minimum gambling age (age 18 in the UK) as well as vulnerable people, such as those displaying harmful gambling behaviours.
When a prospective gambling operator applies for a licence to operate there is a strict criteria that must be addressed. The regulator will consider a number of factors, including the ownership of the business, the business’ financial situation as well as its competence, integrity and any potential links to criminal activity.
Ireland’s gambling regulations
In Ireland the gambling industry is also well developed and tightly regulated. The gambling industry in Ireland is reported to generate €100 million in revenue each year, a figure that continues to grow year on year.
Gambling laws in the country include 1956 Gaming and Lotteries Act and The Betting Act, these have been updated with a number of amendments over time. Technically, these laws restrict gambling, however the Irish government allows the industry to function through the use of private members clubs, providing they have the correct licences for all games on the premises.
These clubs can be found across the country, including in places such as Limerick, Cork, and Dublin. In recent times, many Irish people have found online casinos to be a more convenient way to play casino games, these online sites offer a variety of games such as poker, slots, blackjack and roulette.
In 2015, the Irish government began to take a more in depth look at online casino gaming and betting. Both online and offline gambling is overseen by the Department of Justice and the independent body Irish Revenue Commissioners (IRC).
Online casinos sites operating in Ireland need to be regulated just as land-based venues do, the Gambling Commission is one the most recognised and trusted licence providers in the country.
Why do gambling companies need to be regulated?
Gambling industry regulation is not just there to protect the consumer, it is also in place to protect the operators of gambling sites and land-based venues. Industry regulation has significantly lowered incidences of money laundering, cheating and embezzlement.
Without these rules and regulations in place, many consumers would be cautious about spending money in these types of venues. However, they now have reassurance that they are gambling in fair, safe and transparent conditions.
Regulations need to change and adapt as the industry continues to develop. The fast advancement of technology means that the online gambling landscape is constantly changing.
For example, increased use of cryptocurrency and the increased number of operators accepting cryptocurrency transactions could prompt changes in rules. Also as cyberattacks become more common and hackers more sophisticated, casinos may need to find new ways to protect themselves and their customers.
The casino industry is well regulated and built to protect both consumers and gambling operators. As new challenges arise, it is the responsibility of regulators to continue to set and maintain high standards of safety and fairness in the industry.