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How the online casino industry changed in 2020 and what 2021 holds

The various changes and restrictions in the online casino industry has led to the closure of many top online casinos.


What seems to have been one of the most challenging years has finally come to an end. 2020 might be a chapter we closed but it's definitely one that won't be forgotten.

It has been a year packed with restrictions and changes for various industries including online casinos.

These changes have also led to the closure of many online casinos in 2020.

Online gambling changes

For the online casino industry, the impact of COVID-19 was just as noticeable as for any other industry.

With the lockdown restrictions placed on various other industries and markets, the online casino industry saw some noticeable changes and increases in players.

This in return led to more focus and restrictions being placed on online gambling to ensure responsible gambling.

One of the biggest changes was the cancellation of sports events which led to a drop in sports betting. This was quite a turn of events as the legalisation of sports betting in 2018-2019 led to many believing 2020 would be a big year.

Apart from the big disappointment in the sports betting department, there were various other restrictions put in place since May.

These restrictions were put in place to serve as stronger protection for gamblers who were considered at greater risk during the lockdown. This includes emergency restrictions which all online casinos have to incorporate.

All online casinos must conduct affordability checks to prevent reverse withdrawals and strong limits have been placed on bonus offers.

Verifications procedure and age limits

At the start of 2020, the Gambling Commission changed the requirements with stricter identity checks to prevent underage and problem gambling.

All casinos must first verify a player's identity before they can deposit funds into their accounts or even have access to free to play casino games.

On top of this, all-online casinos need to have policies and procedures in place to detect duplicate accounts.

No credit card gambling

One of the biggest changes was the ban on credit card gameplay. This change was implemented at the beginning of the year. The Gambling Commission announced that no more credit card payments are allowed as it led to problem gambling. One of the small reliefs for players is that e-wallets connected to credit cards are still accepted.

No Choice - GamStop

To take things one step further, all online casino operators have to join the online self-exclusion organisation, GamStop. This is to ensure that all online casinos have the option available for players who might develop a problem and need help.

VIP troubles

For VIP players there's also a new set of rules and regulations. The online casinos have received a lot of trouble for their way of dealing with VIP players. VIPs spend a lot of money and casinos bargain on these players. As such, the gambling authorities have put new rules in place to prevent operators from their malpractice against VIP players.

From the end of October 2020, all operators must conduct affordability checks, gambling harms checks, vulnerability checks and source of funds checks before designating VIP status to any player.

Too great a change?

For many online casinos, these changes have been too many or too restricting, leading to a big loss.

Of course, one of the biggest reasons for many top online casinos closing has ben the tougher licensing standards, the advertising restrictions, and the smaller bet amounts.

Running an online casino with these strict rules and regulations has become a bigger expense than anything else. Resulting in many online casinos deciding to close their virtual doors for the final time.

What's in store for 2021?

The new year will most likely welcome even more restrictions as the new regulations aren't going anywhere.

The Gambling Commission dedicates itself to implementing a system that will keep players safe and the industry balanced.

Various new changes are being implemented and currently, many bigger changes are being made to the Gambling Act. This will only come into effect from 2022 but many of its effects will seep through in 2021.

The industry is becoming stricter, more regulated and in essence safer for players across the globe.

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