Posted in Industry September 29, 2019
Online Staking Limits Not Yet an Option
To protect the players from harmful gambling, it has been suggested that casino operators should implement ‘online staking limits’. This has been done before in fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT) and one gaming executive even suggesting in 2017 that this change is ‘inevitable’. Now the talk about this policy entering the online casino realm has been resolved, at least for the moment.
According to a Representative from the Gambling Commission
In an interview with Neil McArthur of the UK Gambling Commission, he shared that there are no immediate plans to introduce online staking limits on the players’ online gambling activities. This latest policy pronouncement from the Gambling Commission happened in the BBC Panorama: Addicted to Gambling interview where Mr. McArthur is a guest. He shared that this proposal is not yet on the horizon and added that casino operators have a wealth of information about their players which they can use in the promotion of responsible gaming. Mr. McArthur is pointing to the existing regulatory requirements that call for enhanced client screening and verification before an account can be approved. Under the current regulatory requirements, customers and potential players are required to pass through the Know Your Customer (KYC) procedure, source of wealth checks, and checks against money laundering.
Online Staking Limits Not Realistic
In the face of increasing calls for online staking limits from certain sectors, the Gambling Commission has remained firm on its philosophy. And this policy direction has been affirmed by other casino operators as well. Mr. Wes Himes, the interim chief executive of the Remote Gambling Association noted the ineffectiveness of a cap on stakes or bets. In an interview with EGR, he noted that a limit on the stake or prize will prove to be ineffective in a highly competitive gaming environment. Mr. Himes shared that in an event that there will be a cap on bets, the willing customer may be forced to find an unregulated online casino where he can bet the amount that he wants. This scenario is something that both the operators and the Gambling Commission don’t want to happen.
Another CEO from a leading online casino, Ed Ware, also echoed the same sentiments. He shared that the player who has passed the age verification checks and can spend will be disappointed. As a result, he may find another platform where he will be allowed to play bigger bets even if these websites are not properly regulated.
‘Out of the Pan and Into the Fire’
In short, this proposal is seen as a classic case of ‘out of the pan and into the fire’. instead of providing the players with at least a modicum of guidance and regulation, they may end up participating in an unregulated gambling platform. After the interview with BBC Panorama, several representatives of the online gambling community agreed and shared the philosophy of the representative of the Gambling Commission.
Casino Operators Now Taking the Initiatives to Improve Their Procedures and Protect Customers
Right after the BBC interview, several managers and representatives of top casinos have chimed in their comments and concerns. For Ladbrokes Coral, a lot has happened in the last few years and they are in the process of improving their services for players. Starting 2018, the Ladbrokes Coral Group has transformed its websites into safe gambling platforms. The company invested in human resources and new technologies to come up with responsible gaming platforms. Its actions and investments culminated in the ‘Changing for the Bettor’ initiative which was unveiled in 2019.
David Clifton of Clifton Davies Consulting also shared his insights regarding the issue. He mentioned that the issue should be understood in its proper context. He shares that the majority of the remote gambling operators in the market are now licensed by the Gambling Commission. This partly explains why is there is now an increase in the number of complaints filed in the Gambling Commission. Also, this was the time when the operators are now spending more time in information-dissemination, thus players now complain with confidence.
The discussions on initiatives for responsible gaming including caps on bets and prizes are still ongoing. What is clear is that the major stakeholders have already shared their thoughts, principles, and stand on the issue. For the remote gambling operators, they share their commitment to providing a secure and regulated gambling experience for players. And for the Gambling Commission, the idea of online staking limits are off-limits, at least for now.
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