Online Casinos and the Self-Exclusion Schemes Regulated
The recent development in UK online casinos has created a lot of controversy and debate. There are two contrasting views on online gambling in the UK. One school of thought believes that there should be full restriction and ban all casinos not on gamstop online gambling, including online casinos. The other school of thought believes that, because of the global internet, there is no longer any need to have strict laws against gambling online. If the law does prevent a player from playing an online casino then this will just encourage the start of even more gambling websites. There is therefore a conflict of opinion on the regulation of online casinos.
The recent introduction of a self-exclusion scheme by online casinos is one of the major current debates surrounding online gambling in the UK. This involves an individual joining an online casino for a set period of time (usually a week) and then being given access to their own personal software account. They can then use this software to gamble on any of the online casino’s games without having to pay out any money, but they cannot withdraw cash from this account or play with virtual money from their online casino account. In effect, they are enjoying the game whilst keeping their finances separate from their gaming.
This has caused some alarm bells to go off in the minds of many traditionalists in the UK who believe that such a policy might give the online casino an unfair advantage over its competitors. One worry is that these players will try to game the system by wagering large amounts and then simply stopping playing when they run out of cash. In effect they will play for longer, and therefore spend more on bets and gambling expenses. It is also feared that some rogue operators may set up fake accounts in these casinos and then wait for players to transfer funds from their real bank account to their fake online casino account. Both of these worries have been addressed by the UK government in the form of a regulatory body called the Gambling Commission.
One of the things it does is make it harder for a particular online casino to get into a business deal with people who do not have UK citizenship, legal status or who are not UK citizens. For example, a Chinese player could set up an account in the UK, play online casino games and then transfer funds from his real bank account. This would break the law if the Chinese player tried to claim his winnings in his own country. This was why the UK government introduced a self-exclusion scheme to try to stop this kind of thing happening. The Gambling Commission had done similar things in the past, namely banning any new online casinos from offering customers a direct debit to their online casino account.
This new regulation in the Self-Exclusion Zone Act states that only two licensed individuals can be users of a self-exclusion facility. The first of these individuals will be anyone with a business to establish in the UK or with a client who wishes to transfer funds to an online casino in the UK. The second person who can use this service is a licensed financial services customer in the UK. Previously this second person could only have been a bank customer. Now, however, anyone who transfers money to an online casino in the UK may be granted permission to use this service.
So what does this all mean for players at online casinos? In short, players now have more protection against fraud and theft. However, the ban on direct debit payments means that no one except for the person who is transferring funds can claim winnings in an online casino. This means that any winnings should be paid out by the gambling company itself, as they will have to pass this cost on to players. The self-exclusion scheme may still be in place in some UK online casinos, but the overall effect of this new regulation is not yet known.