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Gaming Legislation History

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Pre 1968, Casinos were many, and unregulated.  There are sites on the internet that suggest many were mobile.

The Gaming Act 1968 came into force and it was strict: very strict; but it did bring an unregulated business into legislative control almost overnight.

Short of a history lesson, the Gaming Act 1968 left nothing to chance, and it had in it a clause which declared that any action which was not, "in the spirit of the law," could be itself deemed illegal.

Every single aspect of casino operation was mandated either in primary legislation (Acts of Parliament) or secondary legislation, (supporting Regulations.)

Due to the construct of the act, within Primary Legislation, the Act was very difficult to change, and required Acts of Parliament to amend even the slightest aspect of casino operation.  This meant that Casinos essentially operated under the same business model, and there was very little room for innovation or development of the business.

Casinos became self regulated, as the penalty for failure to adhere to the letter of the law or even just the spirit of the law, was such that a national company could lose it's entire operation overnight, with several permitted officials having unrestricted access to commercial properties at any time without the need for warrants etc, and the Gaming Board as was then, having the legal right to remove the ability for a company to operate casinos immediately if they thought it necessary.  (and it should be noted - they used this right on at least one occasion causing the removal of a major UK company from the Casino Industry and restricting them to Betting Shop Operation only for a period of over 20 years.)

New Technologies added a dilemma: the law was not able to adapt quickly enough to stay ahead of new technology and define or mandate it's use within the operation, and a new outlook was required.

Enter the Gambling Act 2005. (although it appeared in 2007)  To prevent the need for Parliament to intervene in order to control the operation of casinos, the new act relies on the self regulation of casinos by the operators, with the newly formed "Gambling Commission" (previously, Gaming Board) as the regulatory watchdog.  Although a comprehensive act, the majority of the act is enforced via, "Guidelines," created by either the Licensing Authority, (Local Council) or the Gambling Commission themselves.

To make things simple, the new act now comprises of only 3 Primary Objectives:

  1. Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder, or being used to support crime
  2. Ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way
  3. Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.

These primary objectives, make the evaluation and regulation of casinos, a simple process when compared to historic cases, and the Gambling Commission has seen itself able to administer action against those companies who are deemed to have strayed from these objectives by issuing fines in some case to the tune of several million pounds sterling.  A real motivator for companies to properly ensure self regulation.

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