If you’ve been thinking that the UK Gaming Commission (UKGC)is getting a lot more serious about handing out massive fines and gaming license suspensions, you’re not alone. Earlier this year, when the Commission handed out a massive £17 million ($19.3 million USD) fine to Entain for social responsibility violations, industry watchers, including UK gaming attorney Nick Arron, got the message.
Arron, who is the Lead Partner for Poppleston Allen’s betting and gaming team, sat down with SBC News UK to share his thoughts on what operators might expect from the UKGC in the near future. He predicts that increased fines and enforcement will shape a new UK gaming market where only large operators can afford to effectively enforce anti-money-laundering (AML) and social responsibility regulations.
Commenting on how increased enforcement of gaming regulations tilts the market towards larger operators Arron said, “The cost of compliance is increasing and will continue to increase. Operators are having to employ larger teams of people and more employees involved in ensuring they are compliant with their operating licences and that they are adequately protecting their customers.”
He went on to point out that the current labor shortage will only exacerbate the problem because only large operators will be able to compete in a tight labor market.
Increased enforcement and heavier sanctions for gaming operators is a trend that Arron, and industry watchers of all stripes, have seen across the world. Australia is just one example of a country that has tightened its grip on the gaming industry, but the Netherlands and Sweden have been on the same path and many countries are certain to follow their example. The main outlier, according to Arron, is the United States, where state regulators are actually becoming more permissive with operators.
While increased enforcement is a headache for understaffed operators, Arron says it’s definitely improving the situation for customers, and that may ultimately improve the worldwide gaming industry’s bottom line.