Survival of the Fittest as Stricter Gambling Regulations Take Hold

Judge's holding wooden hammer

The online gambling industry has endured the introduction of a slew of new regulations over the past couple of years. Dubious advertising strategies, a lack of transparency and a failure to tackle gambling-related harm have all played their part in the transformation of the iGaming landscape. While some point to the paternalistic interference of left-wing hand-wringers, not to mention political careerists, it’s fair to say that the industry itself is at least partly to blame.

Enforcement

As a result, enforcement is now the name of the game for the embattled sector with the Gambling Commission handing out fines and revoking licenses on a regular basis. Most of these measures relate to a lack of anti-money laundering and gambling addition safeguards. But to make matters worse, from April 2020 players will be banned from using credit cards to deposit funds.

Bleak House

The imposition of these regulations has had some operators running for the hills in an effort to glean profits elsewhere. Others have started to circle the wagons and comply as best they can. However, there are plenty who’ve fallen by the wayside. Despite what appears to be a pretty bleak situation for a good number of online casinos, it seems that gamers may benefit over the short to medium term. Here’s why. 

Shoddy Gaming Platforms

Before the new gambling legislation was unveiled by the UK Gambling Commission, the casino industry was beset by unscrupulous operators that were intent on making a fast buck with little regard for the end-user. For gamers, these types of online casinos often stuck out like a sore thumb, and you certainly wouldn’t find them on reputable like InsideCasino.com or Gambling.com, making them relatively easy to spot. Clues could be found in a lack of SSL encryption, poorly-designed websites as well as buggy, unreliable platforms.

White Label Wide Boys

Many of these casinos operated as third-party or white-label operators. In other words, they would be given access to a game provider’s generic gambling software, rebrand it and then serve it to players as their own product. This remains a common and perfectly legitimate practice within numerous online industries, not just gambling. And there exist countless white-label casinos that offer genuine value to customers.

However, the relatively low set-up costs and ease of integration attracted far too many fly-by-night outfits in the early days. Provided a decent PPC strategy was in place (and an appropriate budget), it was often a case of putting your feet up and watch the profits roll in. Time consuming, long-term marketing strategies such as SEO were usually forgone in favour of a sledge-hammer, here-and-now approach that completely disregarded user experience and value. 

Singular Strategies of Failure

Therefore, a lot of casinos that employed these singular strategies gradually faded away. Ongoing PPC marketing can after all be pretty expensive, especially in the iGaming sector. And if it’s your only means of generating profit, chances are you’ll be found out somewhere down the line.     

In addition the exorbitant costs of PPC, the Gambling Commission’s increasingly pro-active approach has flushed out even more sub-standard casino operators.

So today, the most successful online casinos are those that have either firmly established themselves as trusted brands or have considerable financial clout. And due to stricter rules, these operators are very careful to toe the line when it comes to player protection and anti-money laundering measures. This is because the alternative is almost unthinkable.

The revocation of a licence by the UK Gambling Commission for instance, would prove catastrophic for many operators. Indeed, such an event looms large in the minds of CEOs the world-over. The damming up of a major revenue stream from a lucrative market like the UK can prove crippling. And depending on the extent of the indiscretion, there may also be stiff financial penalties to boot.

The Darwinian upshot of all this is that only the best online casinos are likely to survive in what has become a challenging and very unforgiving sector. This should spell good news for the actual casino-gamer.

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