The online gaming industry is growing rapidly with annual revenues of 9 billion euros in 2011 and an estimated climb to 13 billion by 2015.
The European Union (EU) – Gambling Commission is cracking down on online gambling operations for the protection of its players after a large demand by the public for gambling reform. Beginning August 4th, the revisions made last autumn from the gambling commission regarding the protections of customer’s bets will take effect.
The commission published a 13 page recommendation intended to increase protection for player when they gamble online.
Gambling operators should have a system in place to guarantee that player’s funds are secure and can only be distributed to the player. These funds should be kept in a different account than the operators account to avoid confusion of funds with the player’s money and transfers between the two including rules for termination of transfers or retrieval of funds from player’s accounts where confusion or fraud can be prevalent.
The recommendations also state that players should be required to register online before they are allowed to bet and that the operators should have to verify their identity before their accounts can be created. The player will be required to verify their age and identity; this will help prevent minors from gambling online. This recommendation also helps diminish the exposure of minors to advertisements and promotions for gambling online. During the registration process players will be given a temporary account until their account is verified.
The Gambling commission requires operators to allow customer to suspend or self-exclude their accounts temporarily for at least six months before their accounts are deleted. There are plans to implement a system wide scheme by the end of 2014.The commission also recommends encouraging a national registry for self-excluded players in an effort to keep self-excluded parties from continuing to gamble.
Another recommendation involves setting up deposit limits during registration and the ability to modify these limits online with a 24 hour waiting period for increased deposit limits. Sites will also be required to provide the player’s account balance, display winnings or losses and the date the player began playing on their site.
Players will also be provided with information regarding risk related to gambling. The recommended licensing conditions require that operators notify player’s whether their funds are protected in the event of a bankruptcy. The player will be able to reference a rating system that the gambling commission is implementing.
It is also recommended that gambling institutions work together to make gamble appear less attractive socially. They discourage the use of celebrities as a means to make gambling appear socially attractive. The attempt here is to maximize that players should play for the fun of the game.
In spite of being entertaining, gambling historically has been stereotyped as criminal. The Internet proposes a number of problems for the traditional means of regulation. Although many governing bodies have regulations for gambling, the recommendations came from a request to have uniformity among the European Union’s member states.
Left unregulated online gambling sites pose a number of problems including risks to minors, consumers and banking institutions. Many opinions on the subject call for more vigorous and practical regulations to protect those subject to harm when exposed to gambling such as minors. It is hard to impose regulations over actual money over the Internet, this poses many problems. With a growing number of people accessing the gambling sites from other countries and actual sites ran from other countries it is increasingly difficult to create a uniform solution. Almost half of the worlds’ population surf the Internet according to Internet world stats. In spring of 2012 there were 207 gambling operations that held licenses and the number of online operators was considerably higher.
Since there are so many factors involved it may never be feasible to have an international consensus on gambling regulations. There was a study that suggested regulating gambling through the banking industry may be a better solution to regulation problems. Imposing limitations with credit card companies and enacting them to take more responsibilities for instance making the debt incurred on gambling sites not enforceable by law.
With the rate of recurrence of identity theft and many ways that the Internet can be used to gain your personal information the new recommendations aim to protect players, consumer, as well as minors. It is recognized that there will always be a loophole to get around any regulations that are enforced. There will always be a group of people out to find ways around any regulation and the Internet makes it easier for criminals to get a hold of player’s account information. By imposing regulations and for operators to toughen security there can at least be consensus of security for players online.