The UK Government’s gambling white paper, set to be published this week, is anticipated to significantly impact online gambling operators, in an article published today by The Times.
One major change is the proposal to split the maximum stake for online slot machines into two age bands, with under 25s limited to £2 and those over 25 allowed to bet up to £15. This diverges from earlier rumours of a uniform stake limit between £2 and £5 for all players.
Levies and Enhanced Checks
Another key feature of the white paper is the expected introduction of a “polluter pays” tax on the gambling industry, with a 1% profit tax imposed on larger firms.
This revenue will be used to fund NHS treatment for gambling-related harm. Additionally, the report suggests the implementation of “light-touch checks” for online customers and “enhanced checks” for high-rollers.
The much-expected British white paper is also likely to restrict certain online gaming features, such as quick games, that increase risk levels for players. Moreover, limitations on digital advertising targeting vulnerable individuals are also anticipated.
Land-based Casino Changes
In contrast to the online sector, land-based casinos may experience a relaxation of machine limit rules. The white paper could potentially make it easier for casinos to obtain planning permission for property expansion by reducing the regulatory burden.
Smaller casinos may see their machine limit increase from 20 to 80, while larger casinos might gain the ability to offer credit to attract high-rollers.
Implications for the iGaming Industry
The gambling white paper’s proposals will have significant consequences for the iGaming industry:
- The age-based stake limitations for online slot machines could reduce revenues for online operators, particularly those targeting younger demographics.
- Introducing a “polluter pays” tax and increased funding for NHS gambling harm treatment may lead to greater public scrutiny and pressure on the industry to demonstrate social responsibility.
- The relaxation of regulations for land-based casinos could intensify competition between online and offline operators, as brick-and-mortar establishments gain the opportunity to expand and attract a wider range of customers.