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Interview: How UK Regulations Impact High-Rollers

How easy is it to enjoy the high-roller experience at UK casinos, given the current and upcoming regulations? 

Today, we have the privilege of speaking with one of the utmost experts on all things related to gambling in Britain, Christoffer Ødegården. He has served as the Head of the Casino at Bojoko since 2021, where they actively cater to high rollers, and has over a decade behind him in the industry. 

In this interview, he sheds light on the complexities facing high rollers in the UK amidst existing and incoming regulations. From the challenges posed by anti-money laundering measures to the implications of the maximum bet limits on slots and stricter affordability checks, we will delve into how these factors impact the high-roller experience. 

What are some of the complications high rollers face in the UK casino industry due to existing regulations?

High rollers in the UK face several challenges due to existing regulations. One major issue is the strict anti-money laundering regulations imposed by the UK Gambling Commission. High rollers often engage in large transactions, which can trigger suspicion under these regulations, leading to extensive due diligence checks and delays in accessing their funds.

How do these regulations impact the overall experience for high rollers in UK casinos?

The most common issue high rollers are currently facing is delays in withdrawing their winnings. No one enjoys delays when a lot of money is on the line, and it is easy to understand their frustration.

There is also the possibility of having to wait to access certain high-stakes games due to the stringent checks required by the casinos to comply with regulatory requirements. 

This can result in frustration and dissatisfaction among high rollers who expect their experience to be as seamless as possible. One of the traditional benefits of being a high roller and getting VIP treatment was getting priority in all matters. With the current regulations, many may feel like they are at the back of the line.

The UK government released a white paper in April of 2023 with several suggestions for future regulations. How will these regulatory changes impact high rollers, and when can we expect to see them rolled out?

The UK spent about 3-4 years preparing the white paper, and the results were not as bad for high rollers as initially thought. One thing repeatedly hinted at was that VIP incentives would be banned, but luckily, that was not the case.

Still, the incoming regulations pose additional hurdles for high rollers. The most obvious is the proposal to set the maximum value you can bet, per spin, on a slot machine to 2-5 pounds. This would make slot machines irrelevant to most high-rollers, though there is still a lot of debate.

The suggestions from the white paper are not guaranteed to enter the law, and the UKGC is currently gathering additional data, a project scheduled to run until 2026. I cannot make any kind of definitive statements on when certain aspects of the white paper will enter the actual regulations, but we are actively following the developments.

How can UK casinos and regulators work together to mitigate these challenges for high rollers while still ensuring compliance with regulations?

Collaboration between UK casinos and regulators is essential to finding a balance between addressing regulatory concerns and providing a positive experience for high rollers. We have already seen that the UK government and the UKGC are not steamrolling the casinos but listening to their feedback and taking it seriously.

Good UK casinos also invest in robust compliance measures and advanced technology to streamline due diligence processes and minimize delays for high rollers. Regulators, on the other hand, can provide clear guidelines and support to casinos to ensure that compliance measures are effective without unnecessarily hindering the experience for high rollers.

Are there any other strategies or solutions that casinos can implement to better cater to high rollers in the face of these regulatory challenges?

Besides actively providing feedback to the British authorities and letting them know when certain measures do not make sense and will drastically impact the experience of high rollers, what they can do is use their experienced VIP account managers to provide clear communication and not let the high rollers stay hanging.

I would also recommend that casinos wishing to attract VIP players continue to go the extra mile in benefits and find ways to compensate for delays and frustrations. A lot of headaches can be avoided if the casino already has all the essential KYC documents, so high rollers should not stay dormant. Submit all necessary documents ahead of time to cut down the risks of withdrawal delays as much as possible.