Online gambling regulations have had a significant impact on the online gambling industry. For the most part, these regulations are designed to provide greater safety and fairness for players. They also exist to limit access to those who may be vulnerable or at risk of harm from problem gambling.
The regulations typically involve various aspects of the online gambling industry, such as allowed banking methods, acceptable game features, and betting restrictions. Needless to say, even the slightest change in these regulations affects how the industry evolves.
But how exactly have they impacted the iGaming market so far? How has regulation affected players? Well, join us in this article and see for yourself.
Common Types of Changes
Before we move on to some specific changes and see their effects on the industry, it’s essential to explain that there are different types of changes. Moreover, some regulatory bodies have a wider reach, while others are specific to single markets only.
For example, let’s focus on the types first. Some regulations focus on the money segment, including accepted payment methods. Then, there are regulations restricting the advertising and promotion of gambling activities. We must also mention how some jurisdictions have specific rules regarding game features, wording, stake sizes, and even playing limits.
As for the reach of such changes, we can focus on laws introduced by the UK Gambling Commission, for instance. These affect only the UK iGaming industry and UK players. However, when the EU brings a new legislature, it may often affect all its member states.
Moreover, as many international online casinos and game developers work under the Malta license regulation, changes in the country typically affect a massive number of consumers globally.
Forbidden Games and Game Mechanics
Game innovation is among the main growth drivers for iGaming. Players love all the new things they get, thanks to the providers’ creativity. On every list of online casinos, the leading brands boast innovative features and mechanics in their games. Yet not all of those are available on all markets.
Let’s mention here the popular Bonus Buy feature. This option allows players to buy bonus rounds with money instead of waiting to trigger them through gameplay. It’s a fun mechanic, but one deemed dangerous by the UKGC. The authority banned it, and now UK players don’t have access to the Bonus Buy feature and Bonus Buy slots.
In this sense, gambling regulation can be restrictive towards innovation.
The same applies to incorporating skill in gambling games traditionally characterized by being games of pure chance and luck. As all players must have equal chances of winning or losing, segments that require skill aren’t allowed at the moment. So, bonus rounds on slots requiring skill aren’t possible just yet.
Another example regarding banned games in Germany.
For the time being, only online slots, poker, and sports betting is allowed in the country. So, German players don’t have access to online table games and live dealer games. Naturally, this legislation pushes companies focused on the German market to dedicate their efforts to developing entertaining slot games and ignoring their other verticals.
The country also has strict spending and betting limits. Add the high taxes, and you’ll understand why sometimes the slots in Germany have lower RTP compared to the same titles in other markets.
Ensures Safety and Transparency
Many online gambling laws work towards keeping players safe. So, they improve the overall safety of consumers, ensure operators are transparent with their rules, and ban misleading advertising.
In this section, we also have a few examples to mention.
In the UK, all bonus rules must be clearly stated on the offer. Operators mustn’t involve overly restrictive rules either, and they mustn’t delay withdrawals. All these laws work in favor of customers and, consequently, increase the trust in the industry as a whole.
Not all of the rules make sense, though. Sometimes, regulatory bodies make changes that motivate players to turn to offshore or illegal gambling sites. For instance, when credit card gambling was banned in the UK, many consumers went to play at sites that let them do this; despite that meant they were taking the risk of playing at an unsafe iGaming destination.
When banking is in question, we can’t avoid the topic of cryptocurrency. Crypto gambling brands started modestly and were generally unlicensed or licensed in Curacao. The reason was regulatory hurdles, especially in countries where crypto wasn’t legal.
Once again, certain legislation – or the lack of appropriate ones – was restrictive towards specific types of expansion.
Responsible Gambling and Advertising Regulations
Finally, we must mention regulations focused on responsible gambling and advertising.
In the first case, we have a range of dedicated authorities that impose very strict rules and requirements on licensees. Often, the law demands that operators offer self-restriction tools, deposit limits, and helpful materials. The idea is to keep players – especially the most vulnerable ones – safe and in control of their gambling.
The second case focuses on who gambling ads can reach. In some countries, you won’t see such advertising early in the day when kids may watch TV, for example. Also, promoting gambling content through social media or PPC is not allowed.
In both these situations, proper regulation improves the industry’s reputation by ensuring operators meet high operating standards.