Could Regulators Really Limit Casino Visits?

Before we start, it's important to note a couple of points. Firstly, casino gameplay was only legalised by the government in 2016, and this burgeoning marketplace has yet to be fully embraced by lawmakers. Similarly, regulators in the Asia-Pacific region are renowned for adopted stringent and occasionally drastic measures, many of which would be rejected by the UKGC.

 Still, with the UK government pledging to slash the maximum betting threshold at fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to just £2, our regulators are clearly adopting a tough stance as they look to tackle problem gambling. They are also increasingly inclined to adopt measures that impact negatively on operators and the gambling industry as a whole, regardless of how this could affect jobs and taxable revenues.
This brings on to the recent developments in Japan, where lawmakers have proposed that limit each individual's access to casino gameplay. More specifically, they've pledged to restrict citizens to no more than three visits during consecutive, seven day periods, and a maximum of 10 trips per month. In its current form, the proposal would apply to both residents and foreign visitors, and restrict the amount of turnover that operators could achieve during each financial year.
<h2> Could Similar Measures be Applied in the UK?</h2>

In many ways, it's easy to understand why such a regulation has been proposed. After all, it has been suggested that there are up to 3.2 billion problem gamblers in Japan, and authorities have moved quickly and decisively to tackle this issue. Sure, the bill has yet to be approved and will likely face considerable opposition from within the industry, but the motivation behind it is more than understandable.

So, could a similar measure be proposed in the UK? There is certainly a change in attitude among lawmakers and regulators in Britain, with the UKGC focused on protecting vulnerable citizens and enhancing the reputation of the gambling industry as a whole. The crackdown of FOBTs could well represent the very tip of this iceberg, and prospect of restricting access to offline casinos certainly seems more likely than ever before.

 <h2>The Last Word – The Arguments Against Such a Move</h2>

Despite this, there remain two key points that make such a move unlikely.

Firstly, UK gamblers currently have largely unlimited access to a host of online casinos and sports betting hubs, meaning that any offline restrictions would simply divert gamblers to virtual platforms. This is not the case in Japan, where online gambling is prohibited and there are no national operators.

Secondly, there is the significant issue of implementing such a regulation. Japanese authorities have suggested issuing ID cards with embedded tracking software, but this is a radical move that has met with opposition from liberal politicians. This type of measure would almost certainly be voted down in the UK, where a great deal of emphasis is placed on citizens' liberty and individual freedoms.

While we may not see such a restriction imposed in the UK, however, there's no doubt that similar measures may come into force during the next three years. At the same time, we may see online operators face more stringent regulations and additional tax levies, in order to drive reform throughout the industry as a whole.
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