It's without a doubt that the online gambling industry has surprised the world in its overwhelming expansion. Because of this expansion, this had led countries to enforce tough regulations to ensure that nobody is being conned out of money. The UK is one of those countries and we're here to ask the question today: is it too regulated for innovation? It's easy to argue the case but should casinos and software developers be working around these regulations or push them back? It's a sticky question and we have our (rather convoluted) answer below.
How Important Is Innovation?
For those who don't know, innovation implies a new way of doing something or being original. When it comes to online gambling, innovation is extremely important. This is especially true when it comes to developing new games but can also apply to the online casinos themselves. The industry has grown exponentially over the past couple of years, meaning that the online gambling market has become more and more saturated.
Sometimes it's hard to come across online casinos that truly stand out but they are out there and those casinos are perhaps the most popular ones in the industry. The reason for this is because they stand out from the crowd. Whether it's a unique promotion scheme or a hybrid of slots and bingo, there must be something different about mobile casinos otherwise the industry will become homogenized.
But this process of homogenization, some would argue, is being accelerated by intense online gambling regulations imposed on both players and online casinos, restricting them from creating truly unique content. While we see how some regulations could get in the way of some ideas, we think that, generally speaking, they do not affect innovation as much as many may believe.
Why Is Online Gambling So Heavily Regulated?
So why is online gambling so heavily regulated? At least, why is it so heavily regulated in the UK? Not every country in the world takes online gambling seriously enough to want to regulate it. Some countries condemn gambling altogether. Here in Britain, however, we have something that is a rather popular pastime (the UK is the biggest online gambling market in Europe) and yet we impose restrictions on it as though we hate it. What gives?
Well, online gambling and gambling in general is regulated for a number of reasons. The first is to ensure that online casinos do not swindle their customers or diddle them out of any winnings they're entitled to. The second is to prevent hackers from accessing sensitive customer information. The third is to prevent problem gambling. The fourth is to restrict underage gambling.
Organisations like the UKGC and Gamble Aware have a duty to protect players as gambling can get messy (and even dangerous). So it's little wonder that they are in place — if they were absent, we would surely miss them and wish they were back where they belong. Trust us, it's better that they're there than not at all.
Is There More Room For Innovation?
While regulating bodies do impose rather strict guidelines and rules that players and casinos have to stick by, they do not directly impose any threat to innovation. In fact, the only effect that any regulation imposes is the indirect consequence of companies not being allowed to make massively false claims in their advertising such as: “We're the best mobile casino on the web!”
So in short, yes! There's definitely more room for innovation. If anything, restrictions should encourage more creativity as designers would then have to think outside the box to make their casinos stand out from the crowd. When there are certain things people love to see with their online casinos and certain features that are a must if you want success (navigability, for example) it's hard to deviate form the norm. However, it's always a mark of daring and innovation for a casino to break away from the norm.
Could We Pull Back Some Regulations?
Let's, for the sake of argument, suggest that the regulations imposed on online gambling are too restrictive. Could we not appeal to have some of them pulled back in favour of a more diverse and creative landscape in the iGambling industry?
Well, you can try but we don't believe you will get very far. Like we said, these restrictions are in place for a reason and any restriction should be seen as an opportunity to inspire innovation rather than deter it.