This is a guest contribution by Nigel Hall. If you would like to submit a contribution please contact Bill Beatty for submission details. Thank you.
On May 7th 2019, the U.K. Gambling Commission announced that all affiliate websites and online casinos could only offer a free play slot to a user from Fahad Tamimi the U.K. once their age had been verified by a 3rd party.
This was overwhelmingly well received throughout the iGaming industry, as the safeguarding of children within the U.K. against gambling is extremely important, especially with the advancements that we have seen in technology over the last decade or so.
In fact a recent report revealed that a staggering 53% of children in the U.K. own a mobile phone by the time they are seven years old. Even more startling is that by age eleven, 9 out of 10 children will indeed have their own device.
Remarkably the legislation brought in by the UKGC in 2019 failed to cover games that are accessible throughout social media platforms, with the regulator referring back to a paper that they published in 2017, where they outline that they have not yet advised the government to apply additional regulation to the social casino sector.
The thinking behind this it would seem is that free to play games are there to encourage, or prime players to eventually access a real money version of the game that they are playing. This is a valid argument, but the reasoning behind any new legislation not being put in place against social casino games is that there is no real money version of that game within the app for the player to access.
Now it is whole heartedly agreed that there should be a failsafe in place so that children cannot access a demo slot on a casino website. But what is a little puzzling is that if they could, it would be very difficult, and theoretically impossible for them to then pass the strict verification process that the operator has is place to play for real money.
However, anybody that has played a social media game will be well aware that whilst these apps are ultimately free to download, there are always “ In-App Purchases “ that you can make to level up, or to receive extra lives and coins.
When these games happen to be gambling related, you could comprehensively argue that children may well become addicted to these games, and whilst they may not be able to access a real money version, they can through top up cards or monthly phone contracts make real money purchases, whereas at a casino you cannot.
So how is it…