Posted in Industry September 29, 2019
Online Staking Limits Not Yet an Option
In order to protect players from the negative effects of gambling, there has been a suggestion to implement ‘online staking limits’ for casino operators. This has been previously done for fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT), and some gaming executives have even said that this change is ‘inevitable’. However, the introduction of this policy in online casinos has been put on hold, for now at least.
What the Gambling Commission Representative Says
In an interview with Neil McArthur from the UK Gambling Commission, he mentioned that there are currently no immediate plans to introduce online staking limits for online gambling activities. This statement was made during Mr. McArthur’s appearance on BBC Panorama: Addicted to Gambling. He explained that this proposal is not in the near future, and emphasized that casino operators already have access to a wealth of information about their players, which they can use to promote responsible gaming. Mr. McArthur also highlighted the existing regulatory requirements that include enhanced client screening, account verification, Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures, source of wealth checks, and anti-money laundering checks.
Why Online Staking Limits May Not Be Realistic
Despite increasing demands for online staking limits from certain groups, the Gambling Commission has remained steadfast in its stance. This policy direction has also been supported by other casino operators. Wes Himes, the interim chief executive of the Remote Gambling Association, commented on the ineffectiveness of capping stakes or bets. In an interview with EGR, he explained that imposing limits on stakes or prizes would be ineffective in a highly competitive gaming environment. Mr. Himes pointed out that if a cap on bets were implemented, willing customers might be compelled to seek unregulated online casinos where they can place higher bets. This is a scenario that both operators and the Gambling Commission want to avoid.
Ed Ware, CEO of a leading online casino, shared the same sentiments. He said that players who have passed age verification checks and are willing to spend would be disappointed. Consequently, they may choose to find another platform where they can make bigger bets, even if those websites are not properly regulated.
A Risky Proposal
In essence, this proposal is seen as a risky move that could result in players participating in unregulated gambling platforms. Rather than providing players with some form of guidance and regulation, they may end up getting involved in an unregulated environment. After the BBC Panorama interview, several representatives from the online gambling community agreed with the philosophy of the Gambling Commission representative.
Casino Operators Taking Measures to Protect Customers
Following the BBC interview, managers and representatives from top casinos have expressed their opinions and concerns. For instance, Ladbrokes Coral has been taking steps to improve their services for players. Starting in 2018, Ladbrokes Coral Group transformed its websites into safe gambling platforms by investing in human resources and new technologies. This led to the launch of the ‘Changing for the Bettor’ initiative in 2019.
David Clifton of Clifton Davies Consulting also shared his insights on the issue. He stressed the need to understand the issue in its proper context. He pointed out that the majority of remote gambling operators in the market are now licensed by the Gambling Commission, which partly explains the increase in the number of complaints filed with the Commission. Additionally, operators are now devoting more time to disseminating information, which has given players more confidence to voice their complaints.
Discussions on responsible gaming initiatives, including caps on bets and prizes, are still ongoing. What is clear is that major stakeholders have already expressed their thoughts, principles, and positions on the issue. Remote gambling operators are committed to providing a secure and regulated gambling experience for players, while the Gambling Commission has decided to hold off on implementing online staking limits, at least for now.
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