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Although it may not come as a surprise to everyone, a recent report has shown that around 20% of betting shops and arcades are now likely to be found in poorer areas. At a time when the Government and the UK Gambling Commissionare reviewing current regulations, these new statistics might well have an effect on the future gambling restrictions that are put in place. With the UK keen to operate in a way that encourages responsible gambling, it could seem irresponsible to have 1 in 5 betting shops in areas where people are likely to have less disposable income. The question is, with us now more aware than ever of the effects of irresponsible gambling and being able to place a bet more accessible than ever, what regulations might this lead the UK Gambling Commission to recommend in the future?

Why are less affluent areas being targeted by betting shop owners?

You might assume that poorer areas are going to be largely populated by people that don’t have the spare income to be able to spend on slot machines and placing bets. However, the truth is that just because the people in this area might not be able to afford to place a bet, that isn’t always enough to stop them. In fact, in areas like this people could be tempted to bet money they can’t really afford to lose in order to try and raise money for bills or the dream of having a better life. Although you might assume that richer areas are likely to have people with wallets much more suitable for placing bets –often these people don’t have the same need to try and win big jackpots so might be unlikely to place a bet in the same way. Of course, there is no exact science to this and everyone’s circumstances are different, but it would explain why there is so much demand for betting shops in poorer areas.

Although there arelikely to be future reviews by the UK Gambling Commission that deals with land-based casinos and the areas they’re in, the first response by many might simply be to not allow these betting shops to open. At first glance, it would be easy to assume that if these betting shops didn’t exist then people simply wouldn’t be able to place a bet and therefore the problem would be eradicated. However, online gambling and sports betting arenow more accessible than ever so the chances are that removing these physical venues will simply drive these customers to bet in a different way. What it will also do is take away somewhere that some people go as an excuse to get out of the house or a way for people to see others and socialise. Not everyone can afford to go to coffee shops or spend money to pay for dinner to meet friends, so these shops give people somewhere warm to go and see other people –a lifeline in many ways.

Gambling regulations coming into play this year

Analysis by TopRatedCasinos.co.uk has found the gambling industry employs nearly 100,000 people.The restriction of betting, the closure of betting shops and even putting in strict affordability checks is something that should be given great consideration to. After all, although it is important to consider the possible risks betting and gambling has, you should also take into account the positives it has on many people’s lives too and what you’ll be taking away if you remove the ability for them to be able to place a bet.

As you might expect, gambling regulations are consistently monitored and reviewed. The truth is that many of the regulations we have in place are consumer-driven, as such they are changed depending on how people are betting and what gambling trends there are. For example, during 2020 and the start of 2021, online gambling increased massively in popularity as a result of land-based betting shops being closed and people being forced to spend more time at home.

New regulations that will come in to play across the UK at the end of October 2021 include:

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●A ban on features that make it feel like the player has won, even though the prize is less than their original stake
●Slot spin speeds must be longer than 2.5 seconds
●Autoplay on online slot machines stopped
●The ability to play more than one slot game at a time must be removed

Most of the regulations appear to be around encouraging the user to keep control of how much they are spending and to be aware of what bets they are placing. By forcing them to click each time they want to spin & by only allowing themto play one slot game at a time people are much more aware of their spending and the implications of this.

What gambling regulations will we see in the future?

It is impossible to say what gambling regulations we’ll see in the future, as the way that people use online and land-based casinos and betting shops will be what drives the need for any tweaks in regulations. One debate that is currently happening around casinos and what regulations we should have in place is what affordability checks should be in place and how a casino would monitor the way people spend online. Although affordability checks seem like a good idea, it could restrict those with less money from being able to place the type of bet that they want –and not everyone who has a low incomeis someone that gambles irresponsibly. It is worth bearing in mind also, that the casino industry employs lots of people and as such, any restriction on this which decreases market share or stops people from gambling could affect the jobs and livelihood of the people that work there.

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