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History and Evolution of the UK Gambling Commission

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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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BALLY’S CORPORATION ACQUIRES USER EXPERIENCE (UX) DESIGN AND SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT COMPANY DEGREE 53

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BALLY’S CORPORATION ACQUIRES USER EXPERIENCE (UX) DESIGN AND SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT COMPANY DEGREE 53
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Bally’s Corporation announced its acquisition of Degree 53, a Manchester, UK-based creative agency that specializes in multi-channel website and personalized mobile app and software development for the online gambling and sports industries. The agency’s award-winning approach and diversified skillset will advance Bally’s global omni-channel offering, providing key functionality for integrating Bally’s various mobile platforms. Degree 53’s team of 54 design and technical experts will continue to operate out of its Manchester studio.

Adi Dhandhania, Chief Operating Officer – North America, Bally Interactive, the Company’s digital division, said, “We are delighted to welcome Degree 53 to the Bally’s family. As we prepare to launch our Bally Bet 2.0 mobile sportsbook app early next year, we look forward to leveraging the Degree 53 team to develop our mobile sportsbook products and enhance our customers’ overall betting experience.”

Degree 53’s team offers a range of services, including sportsbook and casino mobile app and website development, complex system integration, data feed management, and API development. By delivering customized technology solutions, Degree 53 will enhance Bally’s diversified mobile platform, which includes integration to the Gamesys Group’s player account management and iGaming solution, in addition to supporting key audience engagement initiatives with Monkey Knife Fight and SportCaller. Degree 53 will also support product development as part of Bally’s media partnership with Sinclair Broadcast Group.

“We have ambitious plans for our multi-faceted sports offering as we strive to appeal to new audiences across North America,” said Raja B-Sheikh, Senior Vice President of Sports Products for Bally Interactive. “The Degree 53 team arms us with a unique perspective and skillset that will further advance not only the core Bally Sports product, but also our ambitious plans for innovative and connected experiences. I am excited to work closely with the team as they contribute to our quest of making Bally’s the number one destination for gaming entertainment.”

Richard Wagstaff, Managing Director at Degree 53, said, “Degree 53 was founded in 2013 to provide creative and innovative online and software solutions for the online gaming industry. We are pleased that Bally’s has recognized the differentiated approach that we bring to the market and to join with them during such an exciting period of the Company’s evolution. This is an exciting time for online gaming and the sports betting industry, and we look forward to immersing ourselves in the diversified projects that Bally’s provides.”

Degree 53 has worked with some of the largest companies in the betting and gaming industry, including Betfred, Scientific Games, FDJ Gaming Solutions, Penn National and GBG, as well as Gamesys brands Vera&John and Rainbow Riches. Degree 53 holds the Remote Gambling Software license from the UK Gambling Commission, which allows the organization to build and adapt gambling software for the UK licensed operators. They are also an Associate Member of the European Lotteries.

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Eight partners on board for BLAST Premier’s return to arena events at November’s Fall Final

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Eight partners on board for BLAST Premier's return to arena events at November's Fall Final
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BLAST Premier teams up with Elgiganten, Kia Denmark, A.P. Moller – Maersk, Xbox, OMEN, Stimorol, KPMG and Greater Copenhagen ahead of next month’s Fall Final in Copenhagen’s iconic Royal Arena

BLAST Premier has brought on board eight new partners ahead of next month’s highly-anticipated Fall Final (24-28 November) – the esports tournament organiser’s first LAN event in over 20 months.

Elgiganten, Kia Denmark, A.P. Moller – Maersk, Xbox, OMEN, Stimorol, KPMG and Greater Copenhagen will all team up with BLAST Premier ahead of the long-awaited return of fans and physical events at Copenhagen’s iconic Royal Arena venue in late November.

The return of arena events with spectators provides a number of exciting in-person opportunities to engage and excite BLAST Premier’s Counter-Strike community at the first LAN event since the London Spring Series in February 2020.

Kia Denmark, A.P. Moller – Maersk and Xbox team up with BLAST Premier for the first time, with the three brands making their first move into Counter-Strike, while the remaining line-up of partners have a strong history with the Copenhagen-based event.

Greater Copenhagen and BLAST Premier worked together to create Counter-Strike’s first ever live in-game prediction tool for last year’s Fall Final and will be sponsoring their first BLAST Premier event next month.

KPMG, OMEN and Stimorol will be partnering with BLAST for a third event – following last year’s online Fall Final and the 2019 Pro Series in Royal Arena. November’s tournament will be Elgiganten’s second event after the 2019 Pro Series.

All partners will be activating at BLAST Premier’s eagerly-anticipated return to LAN events at November’s Fall Final – via a number of fan engagement initiatives, giveaways and designated spaces at the venue to activate around on top of digital branding that will reach BLAST’s global audience watching from home.

The eight brands will join current partners, Betway, CS.MONEY, EPOS, SteelSeries and L33T Gaming – taking BLAST Premier’s portfolio of partners for the Fall Final to 13 in total.

Oliver Clarke, Head of Brand Partnerships for BLAST, said: “We are thrilled to be welcoming a great, diverse line-up of partners for the BLAST Premier Fall Final in Copenhagen – one of Counter-Strike’s most eagerly-anticipated events of the year. We look forward to creating new activations and content together while capturing the huge fan excitement around BLAST’s return to LAN events and the iconic Royal Arena in November. The return of fans and physical events means we can provide our partners with further value and opportunities to engage and interact with the audience in-person.”

The Fall Final is BLAST Premier’s sixth event of the 2021 season and will see eight of world’s best CS:GO teams fighting it out for $425,000 in prize money along with a place in December’s World Final.

Full list of partners for the BLAST Premier Fall Final: Betway, CS Money, EPOS, SteelSeries, L33T Gaming, Elgiganten, Kia Denmark, A.P. Moller – Maersk, OMEN, Stimorol, Xbox, KPMG and Greater Copenhagen.

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Top Interesting Facts About Online Casinos in Czechia

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Photo source: vegasslotsonline.com
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Whenever someone discusses a topic of gambling we usually immediately think of the US and Las Vegas. However, the majority of gambling activity actually happens online nowadays and it’s a very popular hobby in Canada, Australia, and all over the world in fact. Czechia is another country where this hobby is really popular, and there are some interesting facts about online gambling here.

The Czech Republic also has a strong community that enjoys online gaming. They have a big eSports audience, lots of people who love to bet, and among other things gamble online. So, let’s go over some of the interesting facts related to online casinos and the Czech Republic.

History of Gambling in the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic became indecent back in 1993, and yet its gambling laws were in place even before that happened. In 1990 the only approved activities that were regulated by the government were lotteries. This changed in 2012 when the country decided to modernize its outdated laws.

Their new Gambling Act at that time actually allowed for online casinos to operate and accept their citizens as players. The condition here was that the operators had to have a land-based institution on the territory of the Czech Republic. In 2017, online sites that are based in the Czech Republic were made legal, and they didn’t have to have a land-based establishment. However, you will see that this act isn’t actually too lenient on the operators, especially when it comes to their expenses.

Legal Status of Online Gambling

As mentioned it’s legal to maintain an online casino here and to gamble online. That’s not all though, as users are allowed to gamble in institutions that belong to foreign operators. Even sites that operate illegally are not banned here, but players access them at their own risk. Luckily, they can find safe online casinos Czechia sites or available in Czechia by visiting other platforms that review those operators. This way they can ensure to benefit from different bonuses and promo codes, as well as gain access to more diverse gaming libraries.

Bonuses and Promotions

You might wonder why players from Czechia would even create an account with a foreign operator since it’s in their interest to support the local economy. Well, one of the main appeals of online gambling lies in bonuses and promotions, and that’s where things get tricky. The law here states that any operator licensed in Europe cannot offer bonuses or user incentives to attract new players. So, while some countries ban illegal offshore operators, and nobody considers it a big deal, for players in the Czech Republic it would actually be a big deal. They would lose access to some of the best promotions and cashback offers out there.

Revenue

One of the reasons why this country wants online casino operators to come here is because of the revenue. Casino gaming revenue from 2010 to 2017 increased by more than 100 million euros, and it made massive leaps ever since. In the year 2017, the revenue from online gambling was around 370 million dollars, and it continued to grow by around 16% on an annual basis. In the year 2019, the revenue from both land-based and online gambling was 1.36 billion euros. This is a huge deal which brings us to our next fun fact.

Taxing of Online Gambling Operators

Operators here pay massive tax on their income, 35% to be precise. In other words, more than a third of generated profits go to the government, which makes this industry in a way integral for their economy. Unfortunately, a lot of operators simply couldn’t put up with this tax and had to leave. Luckily, all of the reputable and well-established online gambling parlors are still around, and players can enjoy their content.

Number of Gamblers

In the Czech Republic you have to be over 18 in order to be allowed to gamble but the report from 2019 revealed that there are underaged gamblers in the Czech Republic. Now, this is pretty much the case in any country where gambling is legal, and it’s why this is a controversial topic. Still, almost 44% of people who are older than 15 gambled in the year 2019. This number is likely much higher for the years 2020 and 2021, as the pandemic led to a huge traffic increase on these sites.

Conclusion

These were some of the interesting facts about online casinos and gambling in general in the country of Czechia. Hopefully, you learned something new, and useful. If you ever wondered why the welcome offers and bonuses are lacking in some of the online casinos, it’s probably because they need to comply with the gambling act. Always remember to gamble responsibly, and to only maintain accounts with safe operators. Avoid reckless spending, and play primarily to have fun.

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