This week new rules around minimum bets on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBT) will officially come into place.
Under the new rules, the maximum bet on FOBTs will be reduced from £100 to £2. It is hoped that the new measure will help to safeguard players from overspending and subsequent gambling-related problems.
In this post, we will ask whether this new ruling could lead to similar measures taken towards online casino bonuses.
UK Government Measures
Initially the government planned to implement the FOBTs changes by October of this year.
However, this was met with large criticism from backbenchers, who were flummoxed that the changes would take so long to implement.
This led to the resignation of Sports Minister Tracey Crouch (pictured), who believed that the changes should be implemented in April, rather than the proposed October date.
This is what Crouch had to say about the proposed delay:
“I couldn’t justify the delay to people like that… I couldn’t take the responsibility of potentially not meeting people in the future because they’d taken their lives over these machines.”
More Work to Be Done
In spite of the newly imposed rulings, the UK government recognises that more still needs to be done to help safeguard players.
The new The UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright recently said that the government are looking at what actions are necessary to tackle problem gambling online and “whether gambling on credit should be limited”.
Also, some experts are warning that the new FBOT terminal rulings may not have the intended effect.
Experts worry that problem gamblers may just change the way they play and continue to gamble, making the envisioned benefits of the FBOT max bet limit virtually null.
Indeed, many believe that whilst the new FBOTs rulings are a positive step, more needs to be done to tackle the issue of problem gambling in all forms, rather than through specific rulings.
Mike Chatra who works with problem gamblers said:
“In 25 years of working with Gamblers Anonymous I am not aware of one single example of an individual who has managed to stop gambling on one product and have no problems with others.”
Will Bonuses Be Affected?
The move towards stricter regulation in the UK gambling market is inexorable and it appears that steps will be made in many different directions to help curb the problem of gambling-related harm.
The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) have been considering implementing different measures towards stricter regulation for some time now and whatever happens, we can safely predict that more regulation is inevitable.
The big question for us here at Casinosnodepositbonus is whether measures similar to the new FOBT ruling may be applied to casino bonuses.
At this point, it is difficult to say. At the time of writing there hasn’t been any talk of imposing a widespread limit on how much players can wager at online casinos, so it seems reasonable to conclude that no limits will be imposed on bonus wagering.
Also, with bonuses, there is usually a maximum amount which you can win from them.
Consequently, there is no benefit to depositing significantly more money in the hope of winning more from the bonus in the first place.
Also, in terms of deposit bonuses, there is almost always a limit to the amount the online casino matches, making overspending towards these bonuses highly unlikely.
One possible change is that online casinos may start to match deposits to lower values, but we think this is unlikely.
Big Bonuses and Big Deposits
However, with that being said, it wouldn’t be too surprising if bonuses that require big deposits for big rewards become far less numerous.
Also, action could be taken against bonuses which don’t have maximum wins imposed on them.
These kinds of bonuses are precisely the kind of thing which many warn lead to gambling problems.
Latest in United Kingdom Gambling Commission Rulings
The new rulings on FOBTs are part of the UKGC's efforts to bolster the protection measures for players and to help make gambling safer.
The UKGC has welcomed the changes but have also emphasised the need for operators to not let their standards slip and to ensure that they work to ensure their customer’s safety.
Commission chief executive, Neil McArthur said:
“Together with government and the industry, we must continue our ongoing work to make the whole industry safer – this includes continuing to make progress with making other products safer, as customers may move to gamble in other ways following the stake cut – including online, mobile and on the high street,”.
The UKGC has already announced that new identity and age check rules for online players will come into effect from May.
These new rulings will require all new customers at an online casino to complete a verification including name, age and address verification before they can gamble with their own money or with bonuses.
The UKGC is also looking at the possibility of introducing gambling blocking software, banning credit card payments from online gambling and the body is also looking at how operators can communicate more effectively with those who could be suffering from gambling-related harm.
The Times they Are A-Changin’
There is a lot changing in the industry right now and it’s simply impossible to predict exactly what will happen.
But in our opinion, the amount you can wager towards bonuses is unlikely to change for the majority of online casino bonuses going forward.