The Labour party has another go at the casino industry. Tom Watson now says all online casinos should apply for licenses. Why? Let’s find out.
What Tom Watson says
Here’s what Tom Watson has to say about casinos. More than a third of them are failing customers, the MP believes. Multiple investigations show that top-performing casinos are not serving their customers best.
This is why Watson believes all online casinos should apply for a license once more. This will allow the regulator to put the bad actors under scrutiny.
The Ladbrokes controversy
The Labour MP doesn’t say this without evidence, though. The latest gambling controversy proves there is a clear tendency towards rigging the game at online casinos.
The main rules of each game are not rigged. It’s everything else that a casino manipulates.
Ladbrokes, for instance, was caught profiling players. Whenever a player enters the casino the first time, they’re given weight, a score if you will. With each successful bet, this score deteriorates.
The more successful you are at betting, the fewer options you get. High-profile players can bet significantly less, are limited in withdrawal, and are given lower odds in some instances.
All of that is understandable as a casino has to protect itself from the bots. There are robots out there created specifically to beat sports betting establishments. It’s only natural that Ladbrokes tries to protect itself from them.
You could also say that it’s the high bettors who are suffering from the policy, so that’s acceptable. But it can’t be farther from the truth. It’s the common Joe who suffers from this profiling.
The main goal of a casino is not to prevent high-rollers from winning, it’s to help low-rollers lose. At least that’s what Tom Watson believes. He talks about the aggregate fines on the gambling industry being as high as £4.5 million to support his position.
Is reapplying the best option?
The problem is understandable. Now, what about the solution? Asking all operators to apply for licensing once again is far from being optimal. First off, it violates the rules of the market. You can’t give out a license under one set of rules, and then ask companies to go through the procedure once again because you didn’t make the rules good enough.
Even countries that criminalize gambling wait until the current licenses expire.
Then there’s the question of holding companies accountable. It’s easy to bypass the new regulation by changing your procedures and get back to it once you get the license. It’s probably what happened to the current licenses, so why can’t it happen when casinos reapply?
Fueling the costs towards quality control would be much better than doing the licensing once again.
There’s another reason
But there’s another reason Watson wants casinos to reapply. He fears that some casinos that are registered in Curacao and Malta are not interested in the UK market at all, and only go through licensing to get authority. Then they try to use this authority to scam people abroad.
If that’s the case, these casinos should be stripped of licenses if their misconduct is proven. But asking all casinos to get a license again because of that is just not going to work.