Friday, July 19, 2024

Varying Levels of Regulation in UK and US Gambling Industries

2022 has been another interesting year for the global gambling industry. When making a comparison between the UK and US industries, two different pictures can be seen.

In the US, it has been another year of growth for the betting industry. The year got off to a great start with New York making mobile sports betting legal. There had been a long wait for that to happen and when the launch took place, New Yorkers were quick to start placing bets.

Most months see a billion dollars being wagered in the state. That’s particularly the case when it’s the NFL season. With the play-offs and the Super Bowl on the horizon, the New York betting handle is going to keep on rising.

2023 is going to get off to a great start for the US gambling industry. When finishing a chorus of ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ January 1 will see gamblers celebrating the launch of legal sports betting in the state of Ohio.

Later in the month in-person sports betting will be made legal in Massachusetts. Mobile sports betting won’t be legalized in time for the Super Bowl. The plan is that the launch will be achieved in time for the NCAA March Madness basketball events.

You can see therefore that the expanding US gambling industry is going to continue to do so next year. It’s not just in the US that online sportsbooks are being launched. Earlier this year Ontario allowed private companies to launch in their province. That was more good news for American gambling companies who were quick to apply to be able to operate in Ontario.

The expansion of the US gambling industry is also good news for the finances of American states. They haven’t suddenly become lovers of gambling. Their aim is to receive millions of dollars in tax revenue. All very helpful at a time when the economy is still recovering from the problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

2023 is likely to see more states make sports betting legal. The lure of that tax revenue may prove too much even for those states that have long been against gambling. If they do legalize sports betting, the provision of support for those that may become addicted to gambling will be important. Launching without a safety net of sorts isn’t a viable prospect.

While 2022 is coming to an optimistic end in the US, the same cannot be said of the UK gambling industry. There are plenty of problems that have reared their ugly head this year and more may be on the way next year.

Regulation is necessary for any gambling industry. In the US, regulation exists but not at too strict a level. However, in the UK, betting companies have been faced with stricter regulations and more may well be on the way.

It’s been a rather strange year in politics in the UK. One Prime Minister has already resigned and his replacement isn’t likely to win any popularity contests. In fact, betting markets indicate Liz Truss might not make it to the next General Election.

All of this has caused delay to the planned reform of the UK gambling industry. When it does finally happen, online gambling is likely to be targeted. Their current Gambling Act was passed in 2005. To say the industry has changed dramatically since then is one of the understatements of the year. Deposit limits and affordability checks may be on the way.

While the UK government isn’t passing laws, that doesn’t mean there aren’t problems for the gambling industry. The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC)  has been busy issuing fines to companies and setting new rules.

Millions of pounds worth of fines have had to be paid this year by companies such as Entain, 888sport and Betfred and more are likely in 2023. Areas such as social responsibility and anti-money laundering are regularly the reason why such fines are issued.

The UKGC continually warns betting companies that they need to be quicker in helping customers suffering gambling harm. Allowing customers to continue betting huge amounts and not checking where the funds are coming from are those the UKGC need to address.

If companies continue not to take action, it is possible that they may lose the license that the UKGC has issued to them.

Advertising is another area that is controversial in the UK. Since the start of October, the use of sports stars and celebrities who could be role models to under-18s has been banned. There is also pressure on English Premier League soccer clubs to end sponsorship deals with gambling companies.

While both the UK and US have prosperous gambling companies, you can see that they face different problems. It is possible that regulation in the US may become stricter and tax rates may increase. 2023 promises to be an interesting year for the gambling industry on both sides of the Atlantic.

Claire James
Claire James
Claire is an accounts manager at Fire Digital UK, an online publishing and content marketing company based in the North West.

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