In the United Kingdom, we are lucky that the laws relating to online gambling are rather straightforward as well as it being legal to gamble. For some countries including Japan, these activities are illegal, and for others the rules and legislation surrounding them are unclear and complex. For UK residents looking to gamble the laws, generally, are easy to understand.
The Gambling Commission
Many forms of gambling in the UK including online and mobile gaming in the form of using apps are legal and industry is very well regulated. The Gambling Commission, under the terms of the Gambling Act of 2005 regulate the gambling industry except spread betting which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. As a result betting in general and gaming is incredibly big here in the UK, with the gambling industry itself worth more than £5.4 billion and it generates around £2.3 billion to the UK’s economy. What this means is that UK resident can play whichever game they fancy from themed slots to guides on how to play blackjack, wherever they please.
These games can be played on the move thanks to mobile apps. The Gambling Commission regulates the mobile app industry as well as other parts of the industry; however it can get quite complicated and difficult for them. As there is a spectrum of games that everyone can play on the internet or through smartphones. A large proportion of these games are social in a roundabout sense as they interact with other people as a key feature of the gaming and gambling.
The Social Aspect of Gambling
The social aspect to these games may purely rely on players directly competing against others in a virtual social environment, often through social media. A few games may seem like gambling but they do actually not meet the legal definition. They could involve a game of chance for a prize and may use gambling mechanics such as cards or dice but from a legal perspective if the prize is not money or any equivalent they are not considered gambling under UK legislation. When it comes to social gaming and mobile gaming the boundaries have become incredibly blurred as obviously the growth of social media is massive, as well as there has been significant investment by companies developing new products or ways of marketing existing products.
Mobile Gambling Industry
The Gambling Commission has taken precautions to be very vigilant when it comes to regulating the mobile gambling industry, they also work very closely to with game providers to obtain and analyse actually player data. They also continue to monitor the industry closely and will work in partnership with the industry and other regulators to ensure they are completely up-to-date with legislation. They work particularity close with RGSB, the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board to see whether and in which circumstances social and mobile gambling leads to or cause harmful behaviour. They also ensure that all gambling including mobile is always conducted in a fair and open way to ensure customers have the ideal experience.