UK’s new “timeout” rule may affect online and offline poker as well. The United Kingdom is a melting pot of different ethnicity's as well as gambling games. The number of UK citizens that access a gambling platform on a daily basis has been increasing despite the fact that the government lowered maximum betting amounts, raised taxes and overall tried to dismantle the industry as much as possible.
Due to the fact that these activities were largely inappropriate, the United Kingdom Betting and Gaming Council (BCG) has decided to implement a “time out” feature on some of their running algorithms, such as the Anonymous Player Awareness System (APAS).
The algorithm will identify players by their time spent on sports betting platforms. But identification doesn’t necessarily mean finding out about their names, addresses and etc. The identification basically means assigning a specific ID number to a particular player and measuring their time gambling. Once the timer reaches 2 hours, the player will receive an Alert on their screens, urging them to stop. However, this urge is not going to be optional, it’s going to be mandatory.
The moment the alert is displayed, the player will be forced to quit the game. However, this algorithm has not been implemented quite yet, it’s still in development. A different version of it has been though. The alert notifies the staff as well, who then have a choice to take appropriate measures.
Spilling over to slots and poker
Although it’s pretty obvious that such a law would not be relevant for poker games, the government can still impose some kind of regulation for the maximum bets a person can place.
The reason why this law isn’t compatible with poker is because of the length of the games. It’s public knowledge that hands can last quite a long time if players are allowed to think, thus sometimes taking hours or even days to find the clear winner. Setting a timer on such a crucial part of the game would not only diminish its popularity but increase the risks of making terrible choices, thus exposing players to even more losses.
According to rumors from other parts of the world, such regulations have damaged the sales of lottery tickets as well, due to the mandatory reduction of the number of lottery tickets per person, similar to how there’s a timeframe with betting. For example, Gunsbet online lottery tickets took a major cut in sales due to the idea of implementing such a law in Australia, ultimately rendering the feature completely useless and in the hands of the government.
Slots are under the same pressure as well. Given by their design patterns, that don’t necessarily follow lengthy game play, players could find themselves prompted to quit the game within 2 hours of playing.
This can be applied to both online and offline devices, thus limiting the amount of time a person can spend in a casino.
Won’t this just force the player to bet more?
This is one of the most reasonable arguments against such regulations. Having a restriction in the number of time people can gamble in could force most to simply bet it all or pump up the risk, thus exposing them to a lot more danger of losing everything through a single bet, rather than a series of bets over the course of a day.
The moment this happens, the gambling industry gets an even worse reputation with the public as it will lose its “scapegoat” of being nothing more than an entertainment industry. This could be a background tactic for the new regulation.
But, the government has seen this through as well. Decreasing the popularity of gambling at the expense of their citizens is something not everybody is willing to go for, and in the wake of Brexit, it would be a complete disaster to expose Brits to even lower odds with larger bets.
Therefore, the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals had their maximum bets slashed to £2 from £100 back in April.
The regulators have been suggesting to do the same for online slots as well because right now, there’s nothing preventing a player from betting £100 per spin. As for both offline and online Poker, it’s likely that the BCG will suggest lowering chip valuations and bring down maximum bets to about £100 – £500 after implementing the APAS algorithm to its fullest.