5 reasons the UK is a model for promoting online gambling
Get caught gambling in South Korea and you could face jail time. In the U.S., politicians are working overtime to try to ban online gambling. If they cannot ban it outright, they want to make it so heavily restricted that operating an online gambling site is just not financially viable. But more than 3,000 miles away, online gamblers in the UK are free to bet on everything and anything.
So what's the deal? We don't know. It is not clear why so many national governments continue restricting online gambling. But we do know that the UK is a model for any country that wants to relax restrictions and promote the gambling industry.
According to a 14 December (2018) piece published by Business Matters, the UK is "one of the world's largest hubs for online gambling." In terms of the total number of operators in the UK, they could be the largest in the world if you include territories like Gibraltar and the Isle of Man. Needless to say they are doing a lot of things right there.
We know you probably want more specifics. So to satisfy your curiosity, here are five reasons the UK is a global model for promoting online gambling:
1. Unparalleled market availability
The number one reason the UK is doing so well is the fact that the availability of betting opportunities is almost limitless. To begin with, all forms of gambling are legally allowed among gamblers at least 18 years of age. We are talking slots, table games, sports book, and spread bets. If you are 18 and have the money to spend, you can gamble. Moreover, lotteries and offline football pool games are open to 16-year-olds as well.
Next, consider the online access UK gamblers enjoy. In addition to traditional casinos and betting parlors, UK gamblers can access online sites from all over the world. That is a far cry different from what gamblers in the U.S. experience. There, the total number of sites they can access without using a virtual private network is quite small.
It doesn't hurt that gambling operators in the UK are free to advertise as long as they do not target children and they do not use any misleading language or images. You can go to virtually any sporting event - think football and rugby, for example - and see gambling operator advertisements all over the place.
Such open and free advertising promotes everything from random number generator (RNG) games to sports betting and live table games. And don't forget spread bets either. That is an entirely different experience that the UK seems to excel at. Spread bets allow gamblers to bet on everything from the next parliamentary elections to whether the latest celebrity marriage will last more than a year. It is incredible.
2. Reasonable tax policies
Next up are the UK's tax policies. Again, it is amazing to see what they have done. You could play the Mega Moolah slot in the UK and win a jackpot worth millions. Do you know how much tax you would pay on that jackpot? Zero. That's right, you would pay absolutely no taxes. Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch.
To the limited extent that gambling is allowed in the U.S., all winnings are taxed as capital gains. Your Mega Moolah jackpot would not be worth nearly as much in the U.S. as it is in the UK. And yet the UK took in more than £3.5 billion in taxes in 2017 alone. How do they do it? By taxing operators.
Both land-based casinos and online operators pay a tax equal to 15% of their profits. Online betting sites pay the same rate. The tax on most spread bets is 10%. Lest you think that taxation is excessive, Business Matters reminded their readers that gambling profits are taxed closer to 50% in some other European jurisdictions. They specifically mention Germany and France as examples.
If you are gambling operator, where would you prefer to set up shop? Any sane operator would rather pay Britain's 15% tax than Germany's 50%. Of course online operators are not flocking to Germany.
Moreover, how do you think gamblers react to not being taxed? They obviously react well. Gambling becomes a more entertaining enterprise if you know you are not going to lose a portion of your winnings to the taxman.
History has proven that taxes leveled against consumers encourage said consumers to stop engaging in the activity being taxed. The opposite is also true. Reduce or eliminate taxes and the previously taxed activity will increase. It is hard to argue against the UK's tax policies playing a role in encouraging people to gamble for entertainment purposes.
3. Reasonable regulation
Regulators in the UK understand that there is plenty of room for abuse in the gambling industry. As such, they have taken steps to limit that abuse as much as possible. Every operator who wants to set up shop in the UK - be it online or in a brick-and-mortar establishment - must obtain a license from the UK Gambling Commission. In order to get that license, an operator must demonstrate adherence to all existing regulations.
The UK industry is known around the world as one of the most well-regulated. Current regulations are comprehensive and strict enough to keep unwanted activity at a minimum but not so strict as to chase away gambling operators. As hard as it is to do, UK regulators have somehow managed to strike just the right balance.
Enforcement is also a big thing. Keep everything on the up-and-up and regulators will leave you alone. But violate the rules just once and the hand of the Gambling Commission will come down forcefully. It is a model that works very well in that part of the world.
4. State-of-the-art technology
Online gambling is not the only tech-based industry flourishing in the UK. In fact, the UK is a clear European leader in nearly every area of technology. Data center storage and networking are two clear examples.
One of the most attractive places in all of Europe to build a new data center is London. There are good reasons for this. For example, London planners foresaw the progress of technology decades ago and began building the infrastructure to support it. It is nothing for a data center operator to open a new facility in the city center and tap into existing networks.
Move outside of London and you will quickly discover that high-speed broadband is nearly universal across England and Wales. It is everywhere. It's also getting better. Ongoing public and private sector projects are always seeking to speed up broadband and expand its reach further.
It is only fitting that the UK's technology focus has allowed online gambling to flourish there. They have the infrastructure and networking capabilities in place to grow for years to come. When you couple that technology with London's place on the world financial stage, even more opportunities emerge.
Take payment systems, for example. Nearly every online casino operation in the UK accepts MasterCard and Visa. That is just a given. They also accept transactions through prominent internet-based payment systems like PayPal, Google Pay, Stripe and Neteller. Are we done yet? Not by a long shot.
Online operators are more than willing to work with electronic bank transfers and other forms of EFTs. Growing numbers are even getting on board with cryptocurrency. That is where the real excitement is these days. Being able to gamble with bitcoins and alt-coins is attracting players from around the world.
5. The emergence of sports betting
Finally, Britain's open-minded policy towards all things betting has naturally led to the emergence of sports betting online. Gamblers have long had the opportunity to bet on live sporting events at their local betting shops, and now they can do so via the internet.
You can go online and bet on just about any professional sport imaginable. There's football, rugby, American football, basketball, hockey, tennis, golf, curling, horse racing, F1 and other motor sports, and on and on. There are even innovative new games that combine sports book with casino gambling.
Let's say you're a big football fan. One of the biggest names in casino game development has come up with a new way to bet on football that UK operators are embracing wholeheartedly. It is a game that combines live football matches with a simple card game known as War (U.S.) or Battle (UK).
The opposing sides in the card game match the two teams playing the live match. Gamblers are presented with two decks of cards that will be turned up card by card. Players bet on which side they think will have the higher card on the next turn. They can play side bets on ties if they want.
Throughout the game, a trained host provides commentary on both the live football match and the ongoing gambling. Players are encouraged to watch the same football match at home so that they can discuss it during the game. They are also encouraged to bet on the outcome of the live match - outside of the card game of course.
We could go on, but we assume you get the point: the UK is doing a lot of things right to promote online gambling. They are reaping huge rewards as a result. The gambling industry is as strong in the UK as it's ever been. Operators are happy, gamblers are happy, and the taxman is raking in billions. Everyone is a winner!
Byline: This article was published by Mega Moolah expert Henry. Media and other enquiries.