As the majority of Brits are still stuck at home under strict stay-at-home orders, the online gambling industry continues to flourish. In March, gambling operators netted £546.2 million from slots, sports bets, table games, and other gambling formats.
Reports coming from the UK Gambling Commission show a 4.1% increase from February. Slot sites generated £202.9 million, which is a new record for iSlot yield in UK history. Sports bets were worth £250.5 million in March, with an impressive number of bets placed online.
Meanwhile, high-street betting shops are continuing to close, even though they were allowed to reopen on April 12. Still, the maximum bet was reduced from £100 in 2019 to just £2 on fixed-odds betting terminals. This led to more than a thousand shops closing, and many more followed due to pandemic measures that required closures of nonessential businesses.
It could be the reason many turned to online gambling, apart from the pandemic and the stay-at-home orders: Online slots are still not limited to £2 per bet, even though this could change in the future.
Concerns around online gambling continue to increase, and new measures have been proposed to be incorporated in the Gambling Act of 2005. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport is conducting an in-depth review of gambling regulations. It is considering implementing some new protocols that gambling critics have been pushing for quite some time now.
A recent statement by the UKGC highlights that online operators “are not taking the appropriate action or acting quickly enough when they do identify risks of potential harm.” The commission is looking to push mandatory “affordability checks”. Such checks would require online gambling providers to limit the amount a person can lose on the website – for example, £100 – until the customer proves that they can afford potential additional losses.
However, gaming industry representatives are against implementing such measures, saying that online gambling operators already have enough safeguards set in place.