Gambling is a profitable source of entertainment in the United Kingdom. Economists estimated that people in the U.K. spent more than $18 billion on gaming in 2018. Gamblers spent money in 8,400 bet shops, 644 bingo parlors, and more than 150 U.K. casinos. However, the majority of money spent by gamblers was online at casinos and in sportsbooks. While gamblers are reveling in the number of places they have to gamble, some of the owners are concerned. The U.K. government has regulated the gambling industry since its inception. What are the pros and cons of betting in a regulated market?

Regulation in the U.K.

The United Kingdom has one of the most open gambling markets in the world. However, businesses that want to operate in the U.K. need to get a license from the Gambling Commission. There are rules that licensed businesses have to follow. The commission requires them to follow all its advertising guidelines. The businesses also have to make sure that their data protection is up to date. Their policies for gambling and for the protection of players have to be clearly advertised as well. In addition, gambling companies must have a procedure for customer service and customer complaints spelled out.

What Are the Pros of Regulation in the U.K.?

Having the Gambling Commission oversee the gambling businesses in the United Kingdom has its advantages. First, the commission makes sure that only the highest-rated gaming businesses hit the market. If a gambling business has shady policies or lackluster customer service, the commission does not allow it in. The Gambling Commission also makes sure that every gambling business follows its guidelines. This gives the public confidence in the gambling market. Gambling businesses also have to make sure that underage players do not play. That includes either at a casino or on a casino’s website.

When a player wins, there are regulations about how he or she can collect his or her money. There are also regulations on how quickly the gambling business must pay out the money. In addition, the Gambling Commission regulates bonuses, either at the casino, sportsbook or online. It requires the business to pay the winner within a few hours. It is harder for unregulated markets to enforce payout times. In addition, the regulation makes sure that the businesses identify problem gamblers and counsel them about self-exclusion.

What Are the Cons of Regulation in the U.K.?

Most people agree that having gambling regulation in the United Kingdom is a good thing. However, there are some cons as well. First, it does not matter whether a government regulates a market. It is still vulnerable to match fixing and cheating. Also, nonregulated operators are constantly trying to infiltrate the markets and steal players away from them.

It can also be a problem if the government takes too much of the industry’s revenue for taxes. A portion of the proceeds goes to the U.K. government. However, if the government takes too much, the businesses will look elsewhere for revenue.

As the popularity of gambling increase, so, too, does the number of problems it can cause. The great majority of people who gamble are able to spend a certain amount of money and, then, leave. However, between 1 percent and 2 percent of the population has a gambling problem. They can’t stop gambling. This creates economic and social problems. The U.K. government may have to spend more revenue on addiction treatment programs for people with a gambling problem. This may take away from the revenue the nation has going into its coffers.

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A Massachusetts native, blogger Angeline Everett grew up in the Allston neighborhood of Boston and earned a degree in casino management from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. After graduating, Angeline moved to Atlantic City where she joined the young team at the Borgata Casino as a compliance representative, while blogging on the side. After a few years in the back office, Angeline moved to the floor to work first at a casual poker dealer and later casual poker floor supervisor. Fascinated with games of chance since she was a child, Angeline currently divides her time between blogging and work on her first book.