Casinos in Cheshire (and indeed across the UK) are bracing themselves for the announcement of upcoming changes which will be made to the 2005 Gambling Act. April 2021 marked the end of the UK governments call for evidence regarding the effects of gambling and online gambling in the United Kingdom. However, almost one year on and we are still non the wiser as to what changes will be made to the Act. Although, it is apparent that there will almost definitely be widespread changes to online gambling laws, casino jackpot games and gambling sponsorship in sport.
What Could it Mean for Casino and Gambling Businesses in Cheshire?
It remains uncertain, but it is widely thought that the changes made to the act will be more likely to affect online gambling operators rather than brick and mortar ones. Prior to the Gambling Act review, high street bookmakers saw their profits hit when ministers reduced the maximum stake for fixed-odds betting terminals from £100 to £2. Whilst the cut meant a reduction in the governments tax take from the machines, this was paid for by an increase in duty applied to online gambling. It is expected that online gambling will bear the brunt of the update this time.
It is expected that land-based casinos and gambling facilities will be left alone this time. Gambling critics are looking to the government to take action on gambling sponsorship in football in particular and, to a lesser extent, online gambling stakes. This does mean that it is widely believed that Cheshire based gambling facilities should see it as business as usual. In fact, if there are additional restrictions placed on online gamblers, land-based bookies may even witness an upturn in punters visiting them.
Online Slots and Other Online Casino Games
Although the UK online gambling scene is regarded as one of the safest in the world, this does not mean to say that there are not issues. Several online casinos have faced large fines, with the most recent being Genesis Global which was fined £3.8 million for social responsibility failures. Gambling critics claim that such social responsibility failures should pave the way for restrictions on how people can gamble online. Many of these same critics have called for the government to place restrictions on the amount people can bet online per month. Currently, players can bet up to £500 per spin on certain slot games. Progressive jackpot slots are extremely popular and come with the potential of life changing money as a former Cheshire soldier can attest to.
Other casino games which have come under the spotlight of critics include live casino games which are also played online.
Gambling Sponsors in UK Sports
The most expected outcome of the update will centre around gambling sponsorships in UK sports, specifically, football. According to several news outlets, the outlawing of front of shirt football shirt logos of gambling companies is likely to be included in the new laws. Pitch side hoardings and TV commercials are also expected to be looked at, but a final decision is still to be made on them.
Despite the ongoing debates as to whether the UK gambling industry needs more or less regulation, Cheshire casinos should remain safe. However, the changes made to the Gambling Act will have widespread consequences. The government will do well to ensure freedom of responsibility is kept intact.