The U.K Gambling Act is a very wide and detailed law and it governs all forms of gaming (online and offline). This Act was created to ensure policies are in place to govern licensees (people and companies who operate and offer games considered to be “gambling”) within the borders of governance in the U.K and to protect players at multiple levels. In order to offer online gaming services all online gambling sites must obtain a licence to do so.
The 2005 U.K Gambling Act has provisions pertaining to online bingo and those who receive a licence to operate an online bingo site within the U.K. The act covers all aspects of the licence and how a licensee will conduct business pertaining to all operations. These provisions are in place to ensure games such as online bingo are regulated and that the manner to which the games are carried out are governed accordingly. The Act allows players to have confidence that those under licence must adhere to the rules and regulations of that licence. Should regulations not be followed, the licence could be revoked and the operator will no longer be able to offer gaming services within the U.K.
In order to obtain a licence to operate an online bingo site, all operators must first apply for the licence. They must have all financials in place and provide proof of a legitimate business operation within the U.K. The provisions cover a wide range of regulations to protect all parties involved, from players to operators. This covers almost all operations of the games, payouts, how the payouts are to be handled, daily operations of the operator in relation to financials, anti-money laundering regulations and more.
The act regulates the amounts that may be staked on a bingo game being carried out online. This also includes the amount that may be charge for participation and the value of any prize or class of prize awarded to participants. The act further pertains to a specified proportion of amounts staked to be paid out by way of prizes. This to ensure fair gaming practices is in place for players playing with an online bingo hall under licence within the U.K.
The act further covers requirements that are specific to games of bingo played on more than one set of premises. This means for those bingo sites that may operate within the U.K borders but also offer games located in other jurisdictions. However, the above may not bind bingo operators in the event those who participate elect to do so and acknowledge conditions pertaining to a particular game they may play.
This would cover the amount that may be accepted or charged by way of stakes, the amount that may be charged by way of participation fee, the restriction of the amount or value of prizes, controlling the proportion of stakes paid out by way of prizes and the preventing the provision of prizes funded other than out of stakes.
It further covers aspects to the prevention or limitation to a prize is not won or claimed during a game of bingo. The requirement that a single game of bingo must be played entirely on one set of the licenced operator’s premises or the imposing requirements that are specific to games of bingo played on more than one set of premises. This means that those under licence may not change rules regarding the outcome of a game or the prize amounts of those games. It also covers how prize disbursement shall be covered in relation to unclaimed prize or how those funds are controlled.
This is a general overview of provisions within the act with respect to online bingo. The full act is detailed and would be too much to include in this article. As this act is U.K law, it protects those who reside in the U.K. While many online operators within the U.K allow some other jurisdictions to register and play the games, the law really only protects those within the U.K. This should not be a concern to those living outside of the boundaries of the act, as those under licence recognize that should they not meet the rules/regulations to all players they run the risk of the licence being revoked and therefore the inability to operate in the U.K.
As the U.K is a large market for online gaming, operators take their roles and responsibilities seriously and almost always operate to the highest standards that he 2005 Gambling Act was put in place to govern. This is with respect to online bingo and the protection of online bingo players but also all forms of online gambling.