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Regulatory Red Tape Isn't Always an Oppressive Yoke: A Look at UK iGaming

22 December 2017, 14:15 CET

Regulation is often seen as a yoke around the proverbial neck of a business but it's ultimately the way to a safer, more prosperous industry. If there’s one recent example that's worthy of note, it's iGaming, otherwise known as the online casino and betting industry. Although regulation has existed in some form or another for the best part of two decades, legislative changes in the UK have ushered in a new era of regulation and oversight.

Red tape - Image by InfoMofo

In practice, the UK first introduced gambling legislation in 1960 under the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Act. By 1968, the Gaming Act was introduced and largely remained in place until the 2005 Gambling Act (which came into force in 2007). While the 2005 law was enough to oversee the live betting industry, the growth of online betting prompted a change in 2014. Through the amendments, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) was tasked with regulating, licensing, and taxing online operators serving UK residents. Regardless of the operator's physical location, the laws assert that the company must hold a valid iGaming licence.

A working example of this is Rizk. As noted in Rizk casino reviews, this platform is licensed by the UKGC and the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). With its base in Malta, the company has naturally acquired a licence from its national regulator. Prior to 2014, this would have been all it needed to offer games and services to UK players. However, following the law change, this was no longer possible and that means it needed to obtain a second licence from the UKGC. Under the terms of the UKGC's stipulations, all operators must offer fair games, secure software, and store player funds in segregated accounts. As Rizk reviews tell us, these things are in place at this platform and, moreover, all UKGC certified sites.

For consumers, this regulation has created a new level of protection and security. Indeed, with the UKGC overseeing everything from a site's software to the way it advertises its product, there's a much greater level of control that means consumers are safe. However, what regulation has also done beyond protecting players is create a new revenue stream for the government. As well as licensing gambling businesses, the UKGC imposes a tax levy on revenue generated in the UK. Since online gambling regulation was introduced, the sector itself has grown but so has the industry as a whole. According to the UKGC's latest revenue report, gambling is now worth £13.7 billion. Of that figure, online betting has become the largest contributor with £4.7 billion in gross gaming yield.

Compared to 2008, the year following the implementation of the 2005 Gambling Act, today's figure is £5 billion more. For the businesses involved, regulation has clearly been good for business. With consumers now able to hang on a point of authority and feel safe when they play, it's made them more eager to ante-up. As well as businesses benefiting from regulation, HMRC has reaped the rewards of regulation too. In 2016, Betting, Gaming and Lottery Duties totalled £2.8 billion, which is £1.4 billion more than the agency collected in 2007. As a case study, the UK iGaming industry would suggest that regulation isn't always the yoke it's often made out to be. While businesses may not always welcome the input of governments, the impact it can have on an industry's image and revenue can be positive.

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