Stricter rules for smartphone gambling introduced

It’s that time of year again when the Cheltenham Festival comes to town. This, like the Grand National, marks the time when people will be tempted to take a cheeky flutter on the horses.

Indeed, if you’re using an Android phone, you’ll have no doubt seen an uptick in the amount of adverts popping onto your screen for the Festival, with offers to tempt you into taking a punt. There’s no end of places offering Free Bets to bring you in. Now that we can access and place bets easily from our phones, the Gambling Commission has decided to bring in new rules for online gaming firms in order to try to make gambling safer and fairer.

Quicker age verification systems and limits will be added, and those headline deals, free bets and bonuses must only be applied to fully verified customers. It comes as potential customers are bombarded with competing offers from websites and bookies across the world, offering better and better deals which tempt people in. The best sports online betting sites will usually offer free bets or rewards to get people on board, and will offer recognisable and glossy games.

It comes in the wake of recent news that betting shops are having to close down as a result of new rules on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals. These have long allowed bookies to setup shop on the high street and generate large revenues due to the £100 maximum stakes that can be applied per bet. With new laws coming in to reduce this to £2 per-play, there’s a widespread belief that bookmakers will have to reduce the amount of shops they have on the highstreet following the government crackdown. The machines, which offer glossy gaming experiences and simulate the thrills of a real casino, will have widely-known games such as roulette, but with a maximum limit of £100, it’s proving easy to start chasing big losses in a short time.

The Fixed Odds Betting Terminals also offer bingo, virtual horseracing and greyhound racing. It enabled the bookmaker to earn money and for the customer to place a bet even when there are no sporting events happening.

Good news for sports betting fans

The new legislation, plus the ease with which smartphones can be used to place bets and follow online sporting events, means that traditional brick-and-mortar stores could be declining even faster soon.

This is all good news for those who gamble responsibly and infrequently, as they have a wide range of options when placing bets.

The new legislation and laws surrounding gambling also extend to adverts within other apps, which now means that gambling adverts must not target those who are under the age of 18. This is in order to protect those under the legal gambling age.

Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, told us…

These changes will make gambling fairer by helping consumers collect their winnings without unnecessary delay.

Currently around 15% of complaints to the Gambling Commission are about bookmakers not allowing customers to withdraw funds until they submit certain forms of ID. These new laws should make things fairer for both parties