UK Gambling Commission Tightens Its Grip on Industry Standards

July 22, 2019 •

uk gambling commissionSince the beginning of the year the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has had its hands full with various industry-related issues and announcements.

Some of them were actual problems to be addressed and resolved, such as the lawsuit in April when a LeoVegas problem gambler was encouraged to gamble on a sister site, even though he had been banned on the premises beforehand.

On the other hand, the Commission was busy reinforcing new business plans and projects that were to improve the ventures of its licensees. In a nutshell, the new undertakings centred on:

  • Protecting the interests of consumers
  • Preventing gambling harm to both public and consumers
  • Raising the standards of the gambling market
  • Optimising returns to good causes from lotteries
  • Improving the way they regulate.

The five points were bolstered when the regulatory body implemented new age and identity verification rules in May. In plain English, all operators boasting the UKGC licence are now obliged to double check all personal information of all clients, including their full name, address of residence, and date of birth. In case these details are not verified, the player will not be allowed to participate at said online gambling venue.

Safety Above All Else

18+Going on with the timeline of this year, the Gambling Commission carried out precautionary measures with regard to young players’ safety online. Online gambling as such is forbidden to all citizens under the legal age of 18.

However, the popular free play mode has always been available to all.  Since their conception, they have been perceived as a harmless way of entertaining oneself and polishing one’s skills for when they come of age.

As of this year, the UKGC prohibited promoting demo play to anyone under 18. Maintaining that it fostered premature addiction, the supervisor now requires that all its sites should ask visitors to confirm their age before giving them access to the game. This final restriction is expected to battle adolescent addiction.

Concerning this new verification approach, UKGC-licensed websites are not allowed to have any links with affiliates who do not demand that visitors should authenticate their identity and age upon consuming their services.

Licensees are responsible for the actions of third parties with whom they contract for the provision of any aspect of the licensee’s business related to the licensed activities – the Commission said.

Nevertheless, B2B suppliers are not affected by these alterations and can still run the demo versions of slot machines online.

Operators Committed To Tackling Addiction

addicted gamblerA quintet of UKGC brands are part of a new project that includes providing more funding to the Commission to help address problem gambling, one of the major potential social predicaments in the industry.

Initial pressure came from the government, who expressed grave concern following the incident with the LeoVegas client. As one of the latest updates coming from the UKGC, it was announced that the Commission decided to finance the endeavour. The operators participating are:

  • Bet365
  • Flutter
  • GVC
  • Sky Betting & Gaming
  • William Hill.

With the aim of manufacturing a more secure gambling environment for all players, the firms had a discussion with Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and determined future steps.

The first stage encompasses a significant increase in the financial support. Their commitment will be raised from 0.1% to 1% by 2023. As a result, a total of £60 million will have been fathomed from the companies by that time. The goal is to maintain that level afterwards as well.

In the meantime, addiction treatment will be the focal point. The firms are expected to invest £100 million on the matter, including advertising and marketing and spreading messages concerning safer gambling.

Peter Jackson, chief executive of Flutter commented on behalf of the five firms:

This is an unprecedented level of commitment and collaboration by the leading companies in the British betting and gaming sector to address gambling-related harm and promote safer gambling.

Jackson also added that the goal was “nothing less than a step change” in how they dealt with gambling-related hazards.

They even went as far as to entertain the link between problem gambling and suicide, which is another point to be considered and resolved in the near future.

Their engagement in the safety of their clients is commendable and only comes naturally following reports stating that as much as 5% of gambling addicts have at least once attempted to take their own lives.

Optimistic Outlook

time for hopeThe contribution that the UKGC had made was recognised by the HM Treasury. Looking to boost compliance transparency and accountability for UK supervisory stakeholders, the seventh AML report (Anti-money laundering) has been made public. According to the statement, it praised the Commission’s conduct across multiple business disciplines.

John Glen MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, declared:

The Financial Action Task Force Mutual Evaluation Report found that the Gambling Commission had a good understanding of the Money Laundering/Terrorist Financing risks in the gambling sector and applied a risk-based approach to supervision.

All things considered, the Commission is making some radical changes that are going to reshape the fundamentals of iGaming and we will make sure to keep you posted on all updates and future impacts of the already implemented modifications.

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