How a Ban on VIP Schemes in the UK Will Affect Players and Sites

| October 13, 2021 5:42 pm PDT

The global pandemic pushed back proposed changes to gambling in the UK. 

One of the key objectives is to cut down on what the government has frequently referred to as “problem gambling” in the jurisdiction.

Among the many changes set to be introduced into UK gambling is cracking down on “white label” companies and the ban of betting firms advertising on team shirts.

However, one of the more interesting proposals is a complete overhaul of VIP schemes and other bonuses. 

Here’s what to expect from that ban and how it could affect players and betting firms in the United Kingdom.

What Are Online Gambling VIP Schemes?

In essence, these are bonuses, promotions, and perks that “reward” a player for regular use and loyalty.

Think of them as frequent flyer points for gamblers. 

Alongside providing cashback on losses, cash rewards, and points that can be exchanged for prizes, online gambling VIP schemes and rewards can benefit high rollers and those who prefer playing at particular sites.

The UK government, however, is looking into a complete ban on these types of systems. That would mean that a players’ loyalty would not be rewarded, nor would they have a chance to win back a percentage of their losses.

In August, news of an unnamed source from the UK government claiming that the practice would be ended was widely circulated among reputable online publications. 

The source claimed that a complete ban on VIP systems would feature strongly in a government white paper set to outline changes to the Gambling Act of 2005. That document is set to be submitted to parliament by the end of 2021.

The UK Gambling Commission has previously tightened requirements for companies offering such perks. But it seems inevitable that those measures’ failure will lead to the death of VIP schemes in the region.

How the VIP Gambling Overhaul Will Affect Players

In 2020, Labour MP Carolyn Harris announced her intention to campaign for the most seismic changes to gambling in UK history.

The Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Gambling Related Harm (GRH APPG) had previously argued that VIP practices were a strong indication of the “close relationship between the industry and the Gambling Commission.”

If the practice is ended, which looks extremely likely to happen, players will no longer be entitled to particular perks.

These include, but are not limited to, the following.

  • Premium and Exclusive Bonuses
  • Higher Deposit Limits
  • Faster Payouts
  • Exclusive Rewards and Gifts
  • Personal VIP Manager
  • Account Credits
  • Cashback

If it’s not abundantly clear, companies offering the higher end of VIP schemes for UK gamblers will stand to lose a lot of their appeal with high-rollers and big gamblers.

While this will invariably lead to major losses for betting firms, the British government is hoping that it will help to crack down on problem gambling.

A blanket ban on these schemes does appear to be a little unfair to those who benefit from them. But as there is seemingly no way to manage systems like these, changes are imminent.

The Death of UK Gambling?

Many players are tied to VIP schemes as they provide perks that they simply cannot get anywhere else.

If bettors lose these rewards, they will likely find fewer reasons to stay with certain online betting sites in the UK. 

Naturally, the safety of gamblers should come before anything else. But some believe that major crackdowns could lead to the death of the industry in the UK.

The income for online gambling rose from £2.36bn in 2016 to £3.2bn in March 2020. But when fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) were required to drop the minimum stake from £100 to £2 in the UK, gambling shares collapsed.

If the government’s white paper insists on widespread changes, including axing VIP schemes, some betting firms could stand to lose more than half of their income if parliament passes the bill.

Adam Haynes

Adam is a sports writer and tipster with a strong background in MMA, boxing, and combat sports.

When Adam isn't writing about those, as well as politics, rugby, and Gaelic Games, he can be found working on methods and strategies to beat the bookies.

For his troubles, Adam is a fan of Leinster Rugby, Glasgow Celtic, and trusting the process.

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