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UKGC Considers £2 Online Slots-Cap

  • UK Betting companies saw investors running for the hills
  • The cause was lowering the maximum bet from $130 to $2.60
  • Betting companies fear gamblers will go off-shore
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The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), the country’s gaming regulator, said that it was actively exploring the idea of a £2 online slots-cap. On this news some of the UK’s largest betting companies saw their shares take a hammering.

Introduction: UKGC Considers £2 Online Slots-Cap

The day before, the UKGC’s chief executive told parliament that he is “considering” the proposal. He said he would be delivering his verdict on the £2 online slots-cap within the next six months. Not surprisingly, online gambling news in the UK pointed out that investors were quick to take flight. Shares tumbled across the board with a loss of £1.2 billion ($1.6 billion) being felt by UK betting stocks. The largest loser was William Hill which saw it’s shares tumble by 6.2%. Following this was GVC Holdings at 5.7%. 888 Holdings got off relatively lightly, seeing a 1.5% loss. Of course this is bad news for slots players. But sites like PartyPoker have a plethora of other gambling games to keep you happy. Check them out!

From $130 Down To $2.60

Companies are coming to the realization that some serious legal changes are on the way. Last November, an all party parliamentary group suggested slashing the maximum stake for online slots. It  should be cut from £100 ($130) per spin to just £2 ($2.60). This would bring them into line with fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs). These are electronic versions of games such as roulette and slots that can commonly be found in retail outlets throughout the country. Politicians have described them as a “blight” on society. Remember that from January last year, the maximum spin amount saw a change. Unfortunately it’s side effect was to lead to the closure of hundreds of retail outlets along with job losses.

Same Rules Across The Board

Carolyn Harris, a Labour MP, said that she was glad that the UKGC had, “finally seen sense on this. A review of stake limits online has been clearly recommended by the all-party parliamentary group and is long overdue,” Harris said in an official statement. She continued, “Online slot content games should drop down to £2 a spin. This is in line with the rules in betting shops. The Gambling Commission must stop being reactive. It must take action to protect the vulnerable from harm in line with their licensing objectives.”

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UKGC Considers £2 Online Slots-Cap: Unlicensed Sites

But fixed-odds betting terminals and online slots are two very different beasts. GVC CEO Kenny Alexander pointed out that there can be no black market for fixed-odds betting terminals. “If they put a £2 limit on online casinos, the day after that, virtually the same amount of people who used to stake more than £2 will go to the black market,” Alexander said, according to iGaming Business. “They’ll play at sites in Costa Rica, they’ll play at sites in Curacao, they’ll play at sites that may not have a license anywhere. These sites will not be paying taxes … they will have no interest in responsible gaming. And no interest in protecting the player,” he said. Like him, we only recommend legal sites like PartyPoker as you can be sure that you money is safe. And that they’ll actually pay out your winnings.

The Black market

He has a point. UK companies and sites have to pay massive fees to secure licensing. For example, have a look at these legal online gambling sites in the UK. All legal. So no-one is going to be happy with reduced revenues and players heading off-shore. And all thanks to a £2 online slots-cap. In the UK, a recent report suggested that over 200,000 people play on black market gambling sites in the past year. This unregulated market generated an estimated revenue of $1.8 billion thanks to UK customers.

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