Egaming industry predictions for 2020
2020 will be a year of reform, but at an evolutionary rather than revolutionary level, developing themes we have seen in the last 12-24 months: … Read more
2020 will be a year of reform, but at an evolutionary rather than revolutionary level, developing themes we have seen in the last 12-24 months:
- A ban – or at least restrictions – on using credit cards for gambling will be introduced in the second half of the year. Following the Gambling Commission consultation on the use of credit cards and the All-Party Parliamentary Group call for a ban on the use of credit cards to gamble online, the Conservative manifesto proposed review of the Gambling Act with a particular focus on credit cards. With the Liberal Democrats also pledging to ban credit cards, and Labour proposing general reform of the Gambling Act, this is likely to receive cross-party support. However Parliamentary time may be limited by Brexit-related legislation and, as always, the devil will be in the detail, so any changes are unlikely to come before the second half of the year. Additional know your customer techniques will need to be developed to make up for the loss of information relating to credit card ownership and use.
- Loot boxes may finally be regulated. The 2019 Parliamentary (DCMS) Committee recommended their regulation as games of chance, and a ban on the sale of pre-paid loot boxes to children, and this was another focus area for reform pledged in the Conservative party manifesto – but again limits on Parliamentary time may mean this is kicked down the track a little first.
- Social responsibility and innovative technology will continue to go hand-in-hand. Facial recognition may become part of the standard KYC checks, algorithmic predictors of risk will become increasingly sophisticated, and there will – or should – be an increased focus on building social responsibility into the design of games. Increased consumer-focus will hopefully lead to development of new tools to help players control their gambling, as well as improved user experience; mobile devices can offer always-on controls as well as gambling opportunities. I am disappointed that once again ICE have relegated the Consumer Protection Zone to a further corner of the exhibition area, down-playing the critical importance of this aspect of the industry.
- Looking further afield: Though the UK continues to represent the largest part of the EU online gambling market, the growth opportunities are increasingly elsewhere. Brexit provides a further reason for operators to base their HQ elsewhere and the recent reports of a slight decline in UK remote revenue (despite increased turnover) may presage a greater focus on other territories – perhaps the US, finally building on the 2018 repeal of PASPA, and/or in South America. Lack of harmonisation across EU continues to represent a challenge for an integrated growth strategy, but the opportunities in Eastern Europe may be increasingly attractive.
And finally, a negative prediction: cryptocurrencies may continue to nibble at the edges of the gambling sector but 2020 will not be the year when they become mainstream. The fact that the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive will impose the same AML and customer due diligence obligations on cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency exchanges will increase their costs of operation, so reducing the potential savings from dealings in these currencies, but in the longer term may make these currencies more acceptable to the major operators. It would be ironic if a credit card ban merely led to increased gambling using crypto-currencies.
These predictions were previously published in EGR
To see the 2019 predictions click here
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