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A Licensing Expert Compares the Gambling Regulations in the UK and the USA

- March 13, 2019 By Oliver Young -

David Clifton, a licensing expert has made a comparison on the gambling regulations and all the changes that have happened on the two sides of the Atlantic. He starts his presentation by saying that recent news from both sides of the Atlantic shows a huge gap, not only in terms of player protection and social responsibility but also in relation to attitudes towards gambling in general.

The US vs the UK gambling market regulations – Comparison made by David Clifton, a licensing expert.

The US vs the UK gambling market regulations – Comparison made by David Clifton, a licensing expert.

The Comparison

Clifton emphasizes the fact that he’s not saying that responsible gambling is not of primary concern for the US. As a matter of fact, he mentions the AGA’s press release which stated that the US gambling industry commits over $300 million to support education, rehabilitation programs, training and responsible gambling across the country, annually.

However, he stresses, the principal measures against gambling-related harms are considerably less strict than those imposed by the UK Gambling Commission, regardless of the fact that the problem gambling is in higher rates in the US than in the UK, as evidenced by the Commission’s recent annual report on behaviour, awareness and attitude in gambling participation.

We might have thought that this gap would reduce over time, considering the AGA’s Responsible Gaming Collaborative to strengthen policies, regulations, and investigate whether effective prevention programs take place. However, Clifton predicts that the gap will expand even further, considering the UK’s effort to provide players with the safest and fairest gambling in the world by constantly raising the standards.

In the last few months alone, the UK Gambling Commission has made changes to identification verification and age requirements, which will come into force two months from now. Not to mention all the other reinforcements and changes to regulations and policies that happened last year. In addition, Clifton mentions Tom Watson’s speech in which he called for the introduction of a new E Category to gambling legislation that will consider all games as risky, and proposed mandatory limits on spending, the speed of play and staking. The UK government has even suggested a credit card gambling ban to minimize gambling-harm. Clifton says, from all this, the UK’s regulatory policies will become even burdensome, in comparison with those in the USA.

Again, he mentions another AGA’s press release which has a subheading Acceptance of Gaming at All-Time High and gives you another, very different picture of US’s public attitudes toward gambling, compared to those in the UK. According to this press release, the US public’s attitudes are far more positive than those in the UK. The US welcomed those findings, and AGA commented that it will continue to root for sensible gambling policies and include player protection and reasonable tax rates to fight against illegal bookmakers and offshore operators and enable a regulated, legal gambling market.

Clifton’s Final Thoughts on the Matter

Considering the fact that the US has started legalizing gambling only recently, the UK has a lot more experience in both online and land-based gambling. Clifton says that the US industry must be open-minded in order to learn from the UK’s mistakes. He says that it is yet to be seen to what extent the levels of gambling regulatory concern will arise there as they have aroused in the UK and whether the US industry will react to those concerns successfully to avoid regulatory crackdown that the UK operators have experienced recently.

He assumes that answers to all this may be forthcoming at the SBC Events’ Betting on Sports America exhibition and conference that takes place next month, which actually has a panel called Avoiding the pitfalls – lessons to learn from other regulated markets.

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