As online gambling regulation becomes more complex, it is essential to understand the implications for both players and gambling operators. To begin with, online gambling regulation in the EU has addressed issues, such as player awareness and tracking, but there is no overarching framework. National courts are now responsible for resolving disputes between players and gambling operators. In addition, the strict KYC requirement is common in all EU countries, and gambling operators must apply a risk-based assessment to mitigate the potential for money laundering.
Main challenges of online gambling regulation
The regulation of online gambling is a complex and constantly evolving issue, with various stakeholders vying to manage the sector. At the heart of the debate is how to protect children and vulnerable gamblers from the potential harms of online gambling while allowing them to enjoy the many benefits of the medium.
Protecting children online
Those who argue that online gaming should be heavily regulated to protect children from potential harm are on one side of the debate. This side argues that the unique interaction risks of online games, such as the ability to communicate with strangers, make them a particularly dangerous activity for children.
Consequently, they argue that online games should be subject to the same type of content moderation and age-rating systems used for other forms of online content.
On the other side of the debate are those who argue that online games should not be subject to the same type of heavy-handed regulation as other forms of online content. This side argues that online games can positively influence children’s lives, providing them with a creative outlet and a way to socialize with their friends.
They argue that the potential harms of online gaming are overstated and that any industry regulation should be done in a way that does not stifle its positive potential.
Future trends in gambling regulation
The debate over online gambling regulation is likely to continue for some time. However, some clear trends are emerging in how different jurisdictions approach the issue.
In particular, a growing trend is to combine child protection law with legal prescriptions to moderate online content. This trend is driven by the recognition that vulnerable gamers have long been active participants in the industry and that the unique interaction risks of online gaming require a tailored approach.
The German Youth Protection Act was amended in April 2021 to include the in-game communication environment in the reformed age-rating standard for video games. This means that games with unlimited chat functions will now receive a higher age rating.
In the UK, the Online Safety Act, passed in April 2022, also pays particular attention to online content accessed by children. The bill states that platforms hosting user-generated content are responsible for minimizing harmful content, reporting abusive content against children, and assisting police departments if necessary.
These trends suggest that there is growing recognition of the need to protect children from potential harm, as gaming is one of the main challenges while allowing them to enjoy the many benefits the medium offers.
Overall, the online gaming industry faces many challenges. However, the industry is also increasing, and new regulations may help solve some problems.