It is hard to avoid adverts for online casinos such as Deutsch Casino these days. If you are watching any of the mainstream TV channels after 9 pm, then chances are you would have encountered one or more of them.
You may also have noticed that gambling establishments regularly sponsor the programs you are watching. What you are witnessing is the new face of the modern gambling industry in the UK.
Gambling is now mainstream and has long shed its image of being something that happens behind closed doors in some rundown betting office or secret, seedy venue.
Betting is as old as society itself but in recent years it has undergone a huge transformation. This is mostly down to the digital age that changed the entertainment industry back in the 1990s.
This transformation has brought a change in the cliental that gambling attracts. It used to be a male-dominated pass time mostly confined to betting shops, arcades and casinos.
The invention of the internet has changed everything. This online world is available to an ever-growing number of people and the gambling industry has not let this pass it by.
Online casinos have already been around for a number of years. They have become more sophisticated and much more popular than ever before.
These sites have brought gambling to a wider audience that also includes record numbers of women. This is mainly due to technology making online casinos more accessible to the masses than they have ever been and you can also play your favourite games at home anonymously.
You don’t even need a computer these days as you can spin the reels on mobile devices such as smartphones.
It’s not only the availability that has caused a sharp spike in online gambling. The games are more sophisticated and entertaining too. In fact, the UK has embraced online slots in a big way and they are now behind a large chunk of the gambling industries annual revenue.
Concerns For Punters
The UK gambling industry is one of the most regulated in the world. Strict rules are put in place to prevent underage gambling and cheating of any kind. However, these rules and regulations are subject to change in this fast-moving world.
When you join an online casino, site technology quickly checks and verifies your age. Then when you play and make deposits and withdrawals, individuals are asked for further proof of identification.
This usually comes in the form of photo identification such as a passport or driving license, and proof of address documentation such as a recent utility bill.
Some even ask for bank accounts and photographs of the credit or debit card that is being used to fund player accounts.
All online casinos come loaded with responsible gambling tools such as deposit limits, self-exclusion and account closure.
Unfortunately, even with all these security measures at hand, the media is still awash with stories of gambling addiction leading to financial hardship.
Like many forms of entertainment, gambling can be addictive and since slots have become the entertainment of choice for many online casino enthusiasts, the focus has naturally shifted to them.
Slots are fast-paced and you may sometimes forget that you are using cash to play them. They have rapid spin features and auto spin features that aid players to get through a large number of spins in a short space of time.
This is okay if you are winning or playing on a very low stake, but online slots allow punters to spin up to £200 or more per time.
Even though online casinos cater for all budgets and need to attract high rollers, this is seen as problematic. Organizations worried about vulnerable individuals rallied together and approached the government regarding high stakes gameplay.
Following a long consultation by the UK government with the relevant bodies, they made the decision to lower the maximum bet from £200 to £2 on B2 Fixed Odds Betting Terminals that are found in betting shops up and down the UK.
This was announced on 17th May 2018 and implemented in October 2019. As expected the betting shop industry is bracing itself for large drops in revenue, possible store closures and job losses.
There has already been a decline in the number of bets taken over the counter on traditional betting sports like horse racing. This decline was however covered by the sharp increase in revenue generated by FOBTs.
With this in mind, the future is uncertain. Will the betting shop punters return to traditional sports betting, or play on the terminals longer than before because of the lower stakes?
The worst possible scenario will be even more people abandoning betting shops for online gambling services instead.
However, are online gambling services next? At present the new £2 stake rule is good for online casinos as high rollers turn to them for there kicks.
Online slots still offer something for everyone with few limitations. You can stake high or low and payouts are not limited unless the online establishment has a maximum win limit imposed in its terms and conditions.
An Uncertain Future
Those who came together and brought about the £2 limit on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals are now asking for big changes to be made to online gambling.
Their argument is that the same limits that apply to in-store slot machines should also apply to online slots. Especially since they have more appeal than in-store ones and are now highly accessible thanks to the large number of online casinos out there.
Again, this will hit revenue hard and turn high rollers away. If this law is implemented online then this will probably halt the boom in online casino membership.
Many punters are happy with playing small stakes so established casinos will still have a study revenue, what is uncertain is the future of the smaller online casinos and whether this will prevent any more new ones from opening at all.