The UK Government has recently announced that it will be changing the laws surrounding sports betting. On the 29th of October 2017, the UK Parliament passed the Sports Betting Bill with cross-party support, bringing this long-awaited legislative change. Now that the bill has been given Royal Assent, it is time for sportsbooks and betting operators to take the necessary steps to ensure they are operating legally and to ensure they are prepared for the new legislation.
What Are The New Rules And Regulations?
The new legislation will see sports betting officially banned within university walls. On the 31st of October 2017, it became illegal to offer or place a sports bet at a university. This means that if you are a student at a university, you can no longer legally bet on sports. The good thing is that you can now legally bet on games held outside of the university. Another interesting change is that the UK Government has introduced a 3-year prohibition for those convicted of fraud or corruption in relation to sporting events or activities.
What About Those Operators That Are Based Overseas?
The new rules and regulations do not affect foreign-based operators in any way. This is because, under existing legislation, it is not necessary for UK-based operators to become licensed. They are already permitted to offer sports betting services to UK-based customers, and the new rules will not change that. For all intents and purposes, overseas-based operators will continue to enjoy full autonomy in relation to their activities in the UK.
What About Off-Peak Betting?
It is important to note that the new rules and regulations do not relate to off-peak betting. Off-peak betting is defined as being outside of regular working hours or on a day other than a weekday. The intention here is to stop people from abusing the system by placing high-risk bets during working hours. Undercover law enforcement operations have revealed that problem gamblers often work closely with bookmakers, setting up accounts and placing wagers during working hours. These activities can be extremely damaging to an individual’s personal life as well as their workplace. Off-peak betting will not change after the enactment of the Sports Betting Bill.
Changes To The UK Gaming And Betting Regulations
The new rules and regulations do not affect the way in which online casinos and poker sites operate in the UK. These are two popular sports betting alternatives for individuals looking to place a bet. What the new rules and regulations do affect is how traditional bookmakers and betting operators operate. Traditional sportsbooks will now be regarded as part of the problem rather than the solution, and will be required to change the way they do business. The new rules and regulations also mean that bookmakers are no longer able to offer “free bets” to new customers.
Free Bets Are Now Prohibited
One of the things that has made online bookmaking so attractive to consumers is the ability to try a new site with a free bet. In the past, consumers would often encounter problems finding their poker or sports betting accounts validated, and in some cases, they would even be asked to pay fees to obtain their account. The good thing is that this is no longer an issue. The UK Government has outlawed free bets across the whole of sports betting. This means that if you open an account with a UK-based bookmaker, you will not be able to set up a free bet.
Introducing New Sign-Up Schemes
The new rules and regulations allow for sports betting operators to implement new sign-up schemes. Under the new scheme, customers will no longer be required to manually enter their postcode in order to place a bet. Automatic location fiddling, a scheme where customers can automatically input their postcodes for sportsbooks and casinos, is already popular in other countries, and the UK Government has given permission for its use. Similarly, mobile phone number verification is another useful tool that allows for the safe and secure management of personal information. In the past, people often found themselves locked out of their accounts if they forgot to enter a security code. The new sign-up schemes will make using a sportsbook or casino far easier and more enjoyable. In some cases, this could even mean that mobile phone sign-up becomes the preferred method.
Increased Compliance And Enforcement
Along with the changes to the way that sportsbooks and betting operators operate, the new rules and regulations also propose new measures intended to increase compliance and enforcement. This is certainly needed as there have been numerous cases of scams and fraudulent activities related to sports betting, particularly in the area of online schemes and false advertising. The enhanced measures in the bill include a wide-ranging Code of Practice for regulated sports betting operators, more stringent penalties, and the creation of a new industry offence of fraud in relation to gambling activities.
At this point, it is important to note that this is only the first step in the process of bringing reform to UK sports betting. As with any new law, there will still be cases where loopholes exist that can be exploited. However, the new rules and regulations are a huge step forward in the right direction and will undoubtedly benefit the sports betting industry and the individuals that engage with it.
Ensure that you consult with an attorney before taking any legal action, as this industry is not easy to navigate, and you never know what could happen next.