UKGC issues new consumer protection measures

Simona Boshkova | Published 14 May 2020, 9:32 a.m.

A month ago, the UK Gambling Commission published consumer guidance to help players stay safe while gambling. The published guidance included an update of the measures that the Commission enforced in the previous months. In addition, UKGC reminded players that licenced sites have a built-in tool that allows them to set deposit limits. This should help in protecting the players that show problem gambling.

Furthermore, last week, the regulator issued a warning to the gambling operators they will face regulatory actions if they don’t carefully manage all the third party websites that they are responsible for. The warning comes after UKGC found advertising, money laundering and social responsibility failures in FSB Technology operations.

Now, the UK Gambling Commission has reviewed its current consumer protection guidance and has issued new measures due to the risks that some players may be experiencing during the current situation.

The new measures ensure further consumer protection

The UK Gambling Commission has issued enhanced guidance aimed at further player protection. The new measures are a result of the research that the Commission conducted. The results showed that some players may be at greater risk of harm while gambling. Therefore, the Commission saw the need for new measures that will refer to affordability checks, prevention of reverse withdrawals and restrictions on bonus offers. 

This reflects the closure of some land-based casinos and cancellation of major sports events, with only a small number of people starting to gamble for the first time. However, even if there is no evidence that shows an increase in problem gambling, there is evidence that shows an increase in the use of certain types of gambling such as virtual sports, online slots, and poker.

Out of those that were surveyed, the majority indicated that they have not increased the time or money spent on gambling, although two thirds, or 64% of more-engaged gamblers, stated that they have increased the time or money spent on at least one gambling product. Furthermore, the data showed that in terms of time spent gambling, the overall session length has decreased, but there is an increase in the number of sessions that are played in an hour.

Following the new measures, the operators should prevent reverse withdrawal options for players until further notice, stop offering bonuses to players who display indicators of harm, and interact with players who have been playing for an hour in a single session. Moreover, the new measures include that operators have to review thresholds and triggers for new players, conduct affordability assessments, and implement processes that ensure the continual monitoring of their customer base.

UKGC will continue monitoring the situation

In his statement, UKGC Chief Executive Neil McArthur said that operators have to use the data they have to protect the players. Now, it is important that online operators know their players and monitor how long they are playing. To ensure that operators do that, the Commission is strengthening their guidance. He also added that the UKGC will continue monitoring the situation and will take further measures if required.

Moreover, the Minister for Sports, Tourism and Heritage Nigel Huddleston welcomes the latest measures from the UKGC. He said that the players’ protection is vital to stop the gambling-related harm.

Later this month, the Commission will open consultation and will propose strengthened measures for reverse withdrawals and VIP Inducements.

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