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History and Evolution of the UK Gambling Commission

George Miller

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UK Gambling Commission opens consultation on high value 'VIP' customers
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The United Kingdom has a long history of gambling, and to this day it is one of the most lucrative markets in the world. It has also become a model for gambling regulation.

The UK Gambling Commission is the government body responsible for supervising and regulating all legal gambling activities in the United Kingdom. Formed following the Gambling Act 2005, the UKGC has become one of the most highly-regarded gambling authorities in Europe. Here we will take a look at the history of gambling in the UK, how the UKGC came into being, and how it has evolved since.

Gambling in the UK: A Brief History
Evidence of gambling activities goes right back to pre-history and early civilization, and it’s certainly been a huge part of the culture of the British Isles for many centuries. People living in the Middle Ages were wagering money on activities such as horse racing and dice and card games, as we still do today. In fact, the earliest recorded legislation to do with gambling goes back to 1190, when the king decreed that betting was for noblemen only and imposed a daily limit on how much could be wagered. Subsequent monarchs continued to impose more restrictions on gambling.

The history of gambling law in the UK is uneven, although the popularity of wagering has remained high. The first government-sanctioned national lottery occurred in 1694, and lotteries were a common way to raise funds for various projects, right up until the 19th century. During this later period, concern over the perceived immorality of betting led to the Gaming and Betting Acts of 1845 and 1853, which sought to ban commercial gambling, at least for the lower classes.

It wasn’t until the 1960s that any further legislation was introduced, with the Gaming Act of 1968 allowing commercial casinos for the first time. This was the start of modern gambling law, and was the direct precursor of the codes of practice that are in force today.

The Gambling Act 2005 and the Formation of the UKGC
By 2005, online casinos and sports betting were already big business, and it was clear that the laws needed to be updated to reflect the changed landscape. The Act’s primary objectives were threefold; to ensure that gambling was not associated with crime, to guarantee fairness, and to protect youth and vulnerable persons from being negatively impacted by gambling.

The cornerstone of the new Act was the formation of the UK Gambling Commission, an executive public body of the British government sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The UKGC is responsible for the oversight of all legal gambling activities in the UK, both online and in physical establishments, as well as regulating the National Lottery. The Commission replaced the Gaming Board for Great Britain from 1968.

The UKGC has the power to verify that providers comply with the codes of practice established by the Act, and to investigate whether offences have been committed. It can also pursue legal action against any such infringements. Licenses are granted, refused and revoked by the Commission.

How the UKGC Protects Players
The creation of the Commission is considered to be of great benefit to consumers. The codes of practice surrounding fair play, anti-money laundering and responsible gaming have been strictly enforced since the 2005 Act, and the UK has one of the most tightly regulated gambling markets in the world. Unlike some other jurisdictions, which either leave the market totally unregulated or impose strict limits on where players can go to gamble, the UK market is both well-regulated and open.

Considering the profitability of the UK for operators, and the potential penalties for breaking the rules, casino and gambling providers are happy to comply with the licensing requirements. This gives players an enormous choice, particularly in online UK casino sites, of safe and secure providers. To guarantee that the casino sites you are interested in hold a license from the UKGC, consult a trusted source like https://casinopilot.co.uk and choose from one of their verified operators.

The 2005 Act was the most comprehensive overhaul of gambling regulation since the 1960s, but there have been some amendments since then to take into account the changes that have occurred.

Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014
The Act of 2005 did take into account the role of online casinos, but by 2014 the ruling Conservative government decided that new rules needed to be created surrounding remote gambling. Previous to this, operators outside of Great Britain could legally advertise and provide their services to UK players, provided that they were based in the EEA or in one of the whitelisted jurisdictions specified – this included Alderney, the Isle of Man and Tasmania.

The changes brought in in 2014 refocused the licensing requirements on the point of consumption; if the end users were in the UK, then the provider must hold one or more licenses from the Commission in order to advertise or operate here. The new law also imposed a gambling duty of 15% of gross gambling profits from UK residents.

Recent Updates
The latest measures introduced to gambling law came into effect in 2018, following a consultation with industry stakeholders.

The new requirements implemented are focused on giving customers of online casino websites better tools to monitor their own gambling practices. This includes allowing players to easily access their account, gambling and transaction history for specified periods and going back a minimum of twelve months. It also requires that consumers must be able to see their net deposits rather than just their winnings, and set limits on their spending in a variety of ways. Many of these provisions had already existed as responsible gaming recommendations, but now they are part of the licensing requirements.

What the Future Holds
The future of gambling law in the UK depends on multiple factors, such as the outcome of Brexit, who is in power and how much importance future administrations will put on such matters. If Britain leaves the EU, there may need to be negotiations over cross-border gambling duty.

However, the robust UK gambling laws are an advantage for casino sites in this country who provide their services in other European markets. Current members of the Labour Party have expressed a desire to further restrict playing at online casinos, with suggestions such as capping betting amounts and banning credit card payments. Such proposals have been welcomed by some, with others cautioning that it may encourage players to turn their backs on legal sites.

As gambling evolves and changes, so must the UKGC stay abreast of and respond to developments as they occur. A recent example of action taken was in regards to fixed-odds betting terminals, which offer games like roulette and blackjack on physical machines in betting shops and casinos. When it was revealed that players in Britain were losing almost £2bn per year, the government enacted a law to reduce the maximum stake from £100 to £2. The implementation and enforcement of this law is the responsibility of the UK Gambling Commission.

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MrSlotty and EGT Digital sign new partnership

George Miller

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MrSlotty and EGT Digital sign new partnership
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EGT Digital is happy to announce its new partnership with the leading slots provider, MrSlotty.

The Bulgaria-based company will have the chance to provide the fresh gaming content of MrSlotty to their customers. Moreover, they will benefit from the Lithuanian provider’s cutting edge platform and its third-party content.

Adding the huge selection of third-party games, powered by the world’s best software providers, EGT Digital will have the chance to provide premium content to operators worldwide. Designed to engage the players and to offer them an exclusive customer journey, MrSlotty’s high-tech platform will align perfectly with EGT Digital’s passion for fully satisfying the players’ needs.

From old-school classic slots to modern slot games, all in HTML5 is what MrSlotty offers to the industry. Among the titles from their content suite are the popular names – Mermaid Gold, Joker Dice, Dracula’s Gems, 50 Lines of War, etc.

The premium slots developer from Lithuania will integrate their portfolio of over 50 games into EGT Digital’s growing online platform. Their games are suitable for mobile phones and thanks to the compatible technology, they can be played on many different types of devices. There is no need to say that this makes their games highly attractive to the players.

For EGT Digital, Alexander Botov, CEO shared: “We are very pleased to partner with MrSlotty because their high-quality content will be such a gem in our portfolio of games. We are sure that this will be a long-lasting partnership that will lead both of us to the desired success”.

For MrSlotty and MrSlotty GameHub, Anatoliy Peev, the Director, shared: “EGT Digital has developed a reputation as a well-established software provider, and we are glad to join forces with them to additionally expand our content and aggregation footprint with the many clients they work with.”

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HSBC UK increases gambling block feature to 3 days

George Miller

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HSBC UK increases gambling block feature to 3 days
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With lockdown causing an increase in gambling, HSBC UK and first direct have today announced an increased cooling off period to their gambling block feature, from 24 hours to 72 hours.

The self-restriction tool, which prevents customers from being able to make gambling payments on their accounts after it’s switched on, will automatically decline any gambling transactions for three days, to help people control their urge to gamble.

Recently published data from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) highlights that lockdown measures have had an impact on gambling behavior in the UK, with a month-on-month increase of 29% in gross gambling yield (GGY), and a 7% increase in active accounts.

Maxine Pritchard, Head of Financial Inclusion and Vulnerability at HSBC UK said: “This is a challenging time for many of our customers, with some not working and perhaps facing financial difficulty. By increasing the restriction to 72 hours, this will help give our customers time to pause when they are tempted to return to gambling.

“We are always looking for new ways to support our customers and make it easier for them to manage their finances. Customer feedback on our gambling control showed us there was more we could do to help and we’ve worked closely with them and with GamCare to design the solution.”

Available to HSBC UK and first direct customers with an active debit card, the option can be switched on via the ‘Manage Cards’ section on the HSBC UK mobile app (within the ‘Cards’ section of the fd mobile app), as well as via telephone banking or by going into a branch – giving customers added control over their spending.

Anna Hemmings, CEO of GamCare, says: “The ability to block gambling transactions through your bank card or app is an important tool for those struggling with their gambling, and is ideally used together with other practical tools such as self-exclusion, blocking software, and specialist support around the issue – as we have recently emphasised through our ‘TalkBanStop’ partnership and campaign.

“The University of Bristol Personal Finance Research Centre has also highlighted that ‘positive friction’ such as a cooling off period is important for the success of blocks, as this prevents them being turned off in the event of urges to gamble. GamCare is pleased to see HSBC UK and first direct take this positive step to support their customers.”

HSBC UK and first direct both have their own specialist support teams on hand to help vulnerable customers including those at risk of financial harm from gambling and can refer customers to a trusted external organisations where needed.

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Week 3/2021 slot games releases

George Miller

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Week 3/2021 slot games releases
Reading Time: 7 minutes

 

Here are this weeks latest slots releases!

Pragmatic Play, has unveiled the latest addition to its Reel Kingdom collaboration, Emerald King Rainbow Road. Utilising a high-volatility, casino classic feel, the 3×5 slot sees players return to the Kingdom of the Emerald Isle in search of even more riches. Packed with features, Emerald King Rainbow Road rewards players for finding Pot of Gold Symbols, which can trigger the Eliminator Bonus, with more Scatter Symbols leading to bigger wins. Through this round, players can also trigger the Rainbow Road Bonus or Emerald King Bonus. The Emerald King Bonus sees reels light up green with each spin, starting a mini-slot machine in the middle of a reel, which can pay out huge amounts if Lucky 7s line up.

PRAGMATIC PLAY AND REEL KINGDOM PARTNER FOR EMERALD KING SEQUEL

 

 

GAMOMAT, one of the leading independent slot game developers, has launched its industry-first TRIPLE RUSH feature for the much loved Take 5 title. TRIPLE RUSH offers players the thrilling experience of enjoying three spins from just one bet. TRIPLE RUSH limits stake size to 1€, has no effect on individual game RTP or the maximum player return.  This new feature follows the successful roll out of the DOUBLE RUSH feature at the close of 2020. Following rave reviews for DOUBLE RUSH, this innovative feature has been added to Fruit Mania.

GAMOMAT introduces TRIPLE RUSH - one bet three spins

FunFair Technologies, has launched its most popular blockchain slot title, Shamrock Treasures, into the online gaming vertical. Players enjoying the game follow the charming Leprechaun Fergus O’Fun on his quest for Shamrock Treasures, within a 3×3 title showcasing a classic Irish theme which appeals to both slot enthusiasts and total newcomers. Bettors on the hunt for a four-leaf clover discover the slot’s inviting symbols, ranging from pots of gold to Leprechaun pipes, as well as its thrilling gameplay features and immersive soundtrack. Landing three Shamrock Scatter Symbols on the reels triggers a multi-level wheel bonus, which generates increasingly attractive prizes after three successive spins, offering potential wins of over x6000.

FunFair Technologies harnesses luck of the Irish with Shamrock Treasures

 

Kalamba Games is inviting players to a spooky fairground to try their luck at shooting ducks for big wins in their feature-filled title Ducks Till Dawn. Set in twilight and featuring familiar characters from the fairground, Ducks Till Dawn comes with a fresh new mechanic and a modern theme which is sure to thrill players of all demographics. Ducks move across the reels and if one is caught in the crosshairs the player will win the amount shown on the duck. If multiple ducks are landed, the win can be multiplied up to 200x the bet for extra volatility. The Spin Boost feature allows players to fill two meters at the top of the screen by simply playing the base game. The gauges increase with each spin and when full, award up to 15 Free Spins, adding an extra layer of engagement to the title.

Kalamba Games launches thrilling title Ducks Till Dawn

 

Scientific Games Corporation has expanded its portfolio of games developed under license from Hasbro, Inc. with the launch of its new feature-packed online slot game CLUEDO Cash Mystery. The new title from Scientific Games’ in-house studio builds on the Company’s popular portfolio of Hasbro branded content, the two companies having collaborated together since 1998 on leading gaming brands, including the top selling MONOPOLY franchise. CLUEDO Cash Mystery is based on the globally recognized board game brand and incorporates all the familiar characters, rooms and weapons associated with the brand. Offering a top prize of £250,000, the online slot brings the classic game to life across 5 reels, offering 180 free spin combinations, up to 6x multipliers, and up to 25 spins that will make for a high action gaming experience with thrilling reveals.

Scientific Games Expands Portfolio Licensed Games With CLUEDO Cash Mystery Release in International markets

 

Inspired Entertainment, Inc is pleased to announce the launch of Vegas Cash Spins™, a 25-line, 5×3-reel, classic Vegas-themed slot game, available online and on mobile. Akin to playing on a classic Big Wheel Las Vegas style slot machine, the game’s vibrant graphics and easy gameplay will please and amuse fans of traditional slot games. Giving players the chance to enjoy the fun and thrill of Las Vegas, Vegas Cash Spins features the popular re-spin mechanic, coupled with bonus wheels that combine for big prize potential. Six or more wheel symbols in view will trigger the Vegas Cash Spins Bonus, in the base game​. If the wheels land in a 2×2 shape they will transform into a bonus chance wheel with an extra chance to get into the bonus, delivering players a highly engaging gameplay experience from the outset and throughout.

Inspired launches Vegas Cash Spins - a classic Las Vegas-themed slot game

 

Stakelogic is taking players on a mystical adventure where they must smash away ancient blocks and charge magic totems in order to unlock the most valuable treasures hidden deep within a Mayan temple. Mayan Rush™ is a 5×5 reel, 3,125 payline video slot that is visually striking and with sound that immerses players in a highly authentic and entertaining experience. This is combined with a range of features that deliver thrilling gameplay. In the base game, each consecutive win removes ancient blocks from the reels which in turn allows for more wins from that spin. When all blocks have been removed, the game enters Rush Mode.

Feel the big win anticipation build with Mayan Rush™

 

A brand new Play’n GO title comes crashing into the market today, as they release their 5×3 video slot, Bull in a China Shop. Bull in a China Shop is the perfect release to prepare for, Chinese New Year, which this year is the year of the Ox, the inspiration for this title. The game focuses on a shop owner who brings a bull to their store to celebrate the new year. Of course, it doesn’t go well, and now players have to save the day and pick up rewards along the way. The bull itself is not only the focus of the theme; it is also the Wild symbol in the game. Not only does it help players create wins on paylines every time it lands, it also triggers one of three special features, so there’s always something for them to look forward to. Variety is also a part of the game’s free spins, where players can choose one of those three features to play with during their spins; giving them more control over their session.

Play’n GO Are ‘Bull-ish’ Over Their New Slot Release!

 

Playson has released its latest immersive slot, 5 Super Sevens & Fruits. Seven symbols are key to the 3×5 title, as prizes for them are awarded when three appear adjacently on a payline. The rest of the game symbols pay regularly: from leftmost to rightmost on the five bet lines. To ramp up the excitement, Gold Star Scatter symbols land on the grid to pay out wins regardless of where they appear. As the newest addition to Playson’s Timeless Fruit Slots portfolio, the game joins successful hits such as Super Burning Wins: Respin, Imperial Fruits: 100 lines and the recently-launched Diamond Wins: Hold and Win.

Playson turns up the heat with 5 Super Sevens & Fruits

 

Pragmatic Play, has put together a vibrant jungle expedition in its latest game, Congo Cash. In partnership with Wild Streak Gaming, the 5-reel video slot provides players with 432 different ways to win and immerses them in a dense jungle environment. Players will need their walking boots and map at the ready, since this exploration is littered with exotic animals, wild beasts and big potential wins. The Butterfly and the Congo Cash symbols can land players one of the huge money prizes displayed on the jewels above the reels. Congo Cash also features three available jackpots – Minor, Major and Grand, with plenty of adventure awaiting in the Free Spins mode, which can be triggered if three Scatter Symbols land on the reels.

Pragmatic Play Delivers a Wild Jungle Adventure in Latest Slot Congo Cash

 

Yggdrasil, has embraced the icy return of winter with Frost Queen Jackpots. Players are welcomed into the frozen palace of the beautiful Frost Queen in search of hidden treasures scattered throughout the castle. Explorers are tasked with collecting matching keys. If they find all five keys in the same-coloured set they are awarded with 10 free spins for a chance to win five different progressive jackpots. Each jackpot is colour-coded and players can win more than one jackpot in the free spins mode. The game follows the same successful concept featuring in many of Yggdrasil’s local jackpot titles with five of a kind collectibles which have proven popular with global players. If players land three Magic Mirror scatter symbols in the base game, they are transported to either the Jackpot Free Spins or Treasure Chest Bonus Game.

Yggdrasil ventures into the magical midwinter in search of fortune in Frost Queen Jackpots

 

Fruit Million, a traditional-style fruit slot released in the middle of December, has quickly become one of the most successful games in BGaming’s line-up. It has become one of the top eight slots of a major casino in just 10 days. The slot with 100 paylines and features such as extended wilds and a gamble round surprises casino lovers with its simplicity and generosity. Furthermore, it is designed in a way that keeps players involved and entertained.

Fruit Million a “Shapeshifter” Online Slot by BGaming

 

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