UKGC extends deadline on gambling consultation

Simona Boshkova | Published 22 Dec 2020, 9:17 a.m.

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has taken a number of measures and initiatives to provide a safe gambling environment. One of the biggest initiatives that took place this year, besides the credit card ban, is the UK Gambling Act Review that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced at the beginning of this month. The DCMS has also issued a Call for Evidence that will run until March 2021. At the same time, the UKGC reminded gambling operators to use a copyright tool and make sure that their ads don’t appear on copyright-infringing websites.

Now, the regulator announced that it has extended the deadline on the consultation and call for evidence on remote customer interaction. Through this consultation, UKGC is calling for feedback from the gambling industry and other stakeholders on stronger requirements for problem gambling.

The deadline extended by four weeks

About two months ago, the UK Gambling Commission opened a consultation on problem gambling to gain feedback on how operators can strengthen their requirements to identify consumers who may be at risk of gambling harm. The consultation was supposed to take place until January 12, 2021, but the Commission decided to extend the deadline by four weeks. Now, the consultation and call for evidence will be opened to Tuesday 9 February. According to the UKGC, the extension will allow more time for detailed feedback and the strongest evidence base possible from consumers and other stakeholders.

Currently, remote gambling operators can identify customers who may be at risk of gambling harm. However, the Commission believes that the industry has not used the capability sufficiently to reduce harms. That’s why it launched the consultation on November 3 through which it is calling for views and feedback from the industry, consumers and other stakeholders on stronger requirements so gambling operators can identify consumers who may be at risk of gambling harm and then take the necessary actions. This includes improved affordability checks and actions for vulnerable consumers.

UK online gambling activities rise in October

In the meantime, the Gambling Commission announced the latest gambling figures for October. The released data reflects the period between March and October and includes both online and in-person gambling data from Licensed Betting Operators (LBOs). From what we have seen, the UK’s online gambling market posted its second consecutive month of growth in October, showing a rise in gross gambling yield (GGY). 

Figures released Thursday by the UKGC show that online gambling market hit £542m in October, a 29% increase from September’s figures. In addition, there was a 7% increase in active accounts. This comes as a result of real event betting, which saw a 53% growth in GGY. However, even if there are increases in the number of bets and active players, the main driver for this growth is the increase in operator margins.

Furthermore, the number of online slots sessions that last longer than an hour was also increased by 12% (to 2.2m) compared to September. This increase was at the same rate as the increase in overall sessions. The average session length has remained stable at 21 minutes with about 8% of all sessions lasting more than one hour. Licenced betting operators also saw a month-on-month increase of 1% in bets/spins placed and 9% in GGY, to £204m.