August 8th, 2022
Is it time for online casinos to use affordability checks to encourage players to gamble responsibly? Gaming firms may have to put affordability checks in place if the ministers’ plans push through.
A Bloomberg news report reveals a plan to update the 17-year-old gambling legislation to address addiction. Promoting responsible gambling has been a central theme for online casinos, including those that the Gambling Commission licenses.
As part of its compliance, a gambling site needs to provide its players with various tools and resources that can help promote responsible play. For example, it’s common for casinos to offer session and deposit limits and the self-exclusion tool.
Now, ministers have renewed efforts to consider capping players’ stakes between £2 and £5 in online casinos and to ban ‘free bets.’ Capping is a familiar tool in online gambling, and operators mainly use it to limit players’ maximum wins when using the bonus.
In addition to setting a maximum bet, gambling sites may be encouraged to remove features in games that allow players to enjoy ‘fast games’ where they can lose money faster. If you’re an online slots fan, you know what features the regulators are aiming at is the ‘Turbo’ option in games or even the use of ‘Auto Spin,’ depending on how they define ‘quick games.’ Also, gambling sites may be asked to set up an ‘affordability check’ that displays how much a player can safely spend.
Aside from the proposed bet caps, the report also mentioned new powers for regulating the market and additional funding for the Gambling Commission. The funding shall come from the increased fees covered by industry stakeholders.
What does it mean to players?
Anything that aims to promote regulation and responsible gambling will always promote players’ welfare. This proposal is a welcome development for most players as it will provide them with another tool that reminds them to play within limits.
A max bet between £2 and £5 is feasible, and plenty of casino games accept these bet ranges. For example, this is already a considerable bet in online slots, particularly in penny slots or premium video slots. For some enthusiasts and experienced players, this cap on betting is just a slight distraction that prevents them from going all-in on each round.
Comment from Betting and Gaming Council
A spokesperson from the Betting and Gaming Council welcomes the Government’s initiative to review the gambling rules. In a statement, the Council expressed their support for the review and the planned measures and mentioned that they even campaigned for some of these. The Council shall review the white paper once it becomes available, and they will respond accordingly.
But in the same statement, the Council’s spokesperson mentioned that the white paper on adding more rules to gambling should balance the need to protect the most vulnerable players while not pushing millions of players who enjoy betting to the black market.