Online Gambling in the UK

some of Europe’s largest casinos have expressed interest in expanding into the social media gaming world...

Online gambling in the UK is by and large legal and it’s very popular. Recent statistics revealed that almost 11% of UK adults had participated in some form of online gambling and that is up from just over 7% in 2006. All forms of online gambling in the UK are licensed and regulated by the Gambling Commission.

The current concern in the UK is over online social media gaming. The Gambling Commission has been investigating this form of gaming and developing standards to differentiate between what constitutes social gaming like Farmville and gambling. With social media a part of most everyone’s life the possibilities for social media gaming are increasing and the Gaming Commission wants to get ahead of the curve and understand what’s available and what needs to be licensed and regulated.

Already some of Europe’s largest casinos have expressed interest in expanding into the social media gaming world where they could reach millions in a very easy way. Even online gaming giant Zynga, developer of popular games Farmville and Cityville has expressed interest in starting a gaming site and has hired lobbyist to make their case. In conjunction with these efforts, social media platforms like Facebook are eager to have gaming options to present. This confluence of desire for social media gaming threatens to move very quickly and the Gaming Commission is determined to get control while it still can.

Most pressing is the issue of virtual money. Already some games on social media platforms allow users to progress through the games more quickly through buying credits and points with cash. It’s just a small step to some trading this virtual money for cash in an illegal manner and that possibility is what attracted the attention of the Gaming Commission.

Also of great interest to the Gaming Commission is the ability of young people to access these gaming site through their social media accounts. Currently there is no regulation to prevent this from happening.

The debate now amongst the members of the Gaming Commission is just what constitutes social media gambling. The Commission plans to take a hard look at this issue in the near future. They will begin by examing the societal effects of social media gaming as well as weather all social media gaming or just certain aspects of it can be classified as gambling. At that point they will be able to determine what steps need to be taken to license and regulate these new forms of gaming.