The laws and rules surrounding gaming have undergone several redevelopments and dramatic changes over the years as they adapt to a constantly changing environment. You may not consider them when logging on to online bingo sites at Ladbrokes, but a number of increasingly complex and detailed laws have been put in place, then adapted, to enable gamers to continue their favourite pastime.
Gambling laws have been around from as far back as 1845, when the original Gaming Act was passed through Parliament. The original intention of the Act was to discourage gaming by acknowledging that a wager was unenforceable as a legal contract. Following Royal Assent, sections 17 and 18 of the Act, concerning cheating and void contracts, remained, with few amendments, in force until September 2007.
The game of Bingo grew in popularity within the armed forces during WWII and made inroads into mainstream society following its conclusion. The original Betting and Gaming Act of 1960 allowed the creation and development of commercial bingo halls. They were established as members only clubs.
It was a similar story with casinos, which again had to be members only, hold a license and limit their number of gaming machines to 10. Crucially, for the development of sports betting, the Act also legalized the presence of off-course bookmakers.
Many of the aspects of the original law, particularly those to do with casinos, were proving too difficult to enforce. So, in 1968, a revised and infinitely more liberal Gaming Act was implemented. The updated version allowed true commercial casinos and sparked their inexorable rise to gaming’s top table. Despite its increased relaxation, the new Act was still focused around two central points. Firstly, gambling should not be advertised or encouraged;and secondly, that it should be controlled by the government in order to keep a lid on criminal involvement.
These doctrines remained set in stone until 1991, when pressure from gaming operators and a gradual realisation and acceptance from the government that the statutes had become antiquated forced a change. So began the process of deregulation, leading to the change of the gambling face in the UK in 1994 with the National Lottery Act.
Supported and advocated by the government, the successful marketing and advertising of the lottery saw it make a comfortable home in the nation’s psyche, a feat that would have been rendered impossible by the previous laws which were very clear on how they wanted to prohibit the stimulation of demand for gambling.
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The most recent significant shift in gaming law came in 2005 with the ascension of a new Gambling Act. This legalised the creation of Las Vegas-style gaming arenas and became synonymous with the infamous ‘super casinos’. The new Act detailed three core objectives: to keep gambling crime free, to ensure it is fair and open, and to protect children and vulnerable adults from the vices.
In terms of online gaming, this is done using registration for the sites and use of a credit card with which to control your funds. Only those over the age of 18 can play and take advantage of the Ladbrokes bingo bonus. The 2005 act also saw the creation of the Gambling Commission, an independent body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport charged with regulating commercial gambling in the UK.
The Gambling Commission now sits as the single regulatory body from whom all gaming outlets must obtain a license before operating. They also publish codes of conduct and guidelines for businesses to follow.
So, it is not simply a case of logging on and trying your luck or chasing the big prize. Behind the simple pleasure of Ladbrokes bingo lays a complicated history. Who knows what changes the future will bring?