News that the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) could reduce the maximum allowable bets at online games down to £2 has hit, sending the value of many established companies stock down. Among the affected are some of the biggest names in the gambling business, including Ladbrokes Coral, 888, Flutter Entertainment, Playtech and William Hill.
William Hill was one of the severest affected companies during the last major overhaul of gambling rules in the UK when the government agree to reduce FOBTs betting limits down to a maximum of £2. Now, the same measure is sought for the online machines.
The initiative is authored by the all-parliamentary group on gambling harm which has been pushing the UKGC to take more serious measures against financial ruin and suicides linked to gambling. According to MPs, the regulator hasn’t been doing enough, and as a result, stricter measures need to be put in place, lawmakers have argued.
Just the news that gambling may be coming under threat managed to tank the value of companies by a collective £500, media outlets have reported.
The UK Gambling Commission Ready to Review Online Betting
This is the second time the UK Gambling Commission has said that it would consider taking a closer look at the online betting limits. Gambling has been gradually coming under stricter regulatory measures, with a credit card ban, stricter identity verification processes and not least of all the reduction of FOBTs betting limits, all put in place now.
However, many, including in business, remain sceptical that online slots maximum stakes should be reduced to £2.
The first time the Commission suggested a review in 2018, gambling companies’ bosses went on to caution that a broad move such as this could lead to the loss of a huge economic contributor and effectively bankrupt many companies, taking people’s livelihoods with them.
For its part, the Commission, and Neil McArthur intend to uphold their promise and review online stakes, which is the main reason why stock value has been crashing.
Not All Bad News
While there seems to be some choppy seas ahead, not all is lost for the UK gambling industry. The introduction of some tighter measures can only benefit business in general. By protecting players, companies will avoid costly penalties and not least of all – taking hit on their reputation.
While affiliates for such operators will no doubt take a hit in their earnings if this goes through, one such affiliate disagrees: “[some] affiliates naturally fear regulation but in the long term it’s safer for players especially on prolific real money games like slots, roulette and poker and safer players reinforce the legitimate entertainment of gambling when played sensibly and safely.” notes Steve Bancroft, 11 year blackjack player and editor of GamblingUK.com.
Besides, none of the measures introduced so far have affected business negatively. Yes, identity verification checks must be completed immediately and people can’t get on to test the free versions of games, but there are solutions that are making it possible to minimise the impact thereof, such as Trustly, which is a payment method that exchanges all KYC and AML information with a casino’s online system instantly.
However, cracking down on the available betting limit for online games in particular can truly tank the value of operators and lead to apocalyptic consequences for the industry.