UKGC publishes Business Plan for 2020/21

Cvetanka Cvetanovska | Published 3 Apr 2020, 12:42 p.m.

The UK Gambling Commission has published its Business Plan for 2020/21. This plan outlined a few key priorities, including the measures to reduce gambling harm and maintain online safe gambling environment. 

The regulator pointed out the need for improved customer protection and universal standards in the casino industry. They will strive to optimise the returns to good causes from lotteries, which improved the industries’ overall public image.

Effort and good work bring results

The chief executive of the UK Gambling Commission Neil McArthur agrees that this year began in challenging circumstances that changed the everyday operations for us all, including the casino industry. He added that gambling-related harm must be reduced and they are ready to act if operators can’t protect the players. As drastic measures, they mentioned suspension and revoke of operating licences. In addition, we have to mention the high penalties for the cases of Betway and Caesars Entertainment that have recently shaken up the casino community. 

During the conference, Arthur added that since their review of 2018 gambling regulations they have improved the age and ID verification rules. They have also strengthened the rules around customer interaction, licence conditions and the recent credit card gambling ban. This year they will continue to deliver recommendations by addressing VIP incentives and guidelines on safe online advertising.

The volume and complexity of their work continue to grow. However, they will continue to focus their resources on the areas that have maximum impact on the consumers. Their goal will be to keep pace with emerging issues and risks brought up by regulating such a complex industry.

In 2020/21, UKGC plans to launch an “Experts by Experience Board” to ensure that the voice of consumers and those exposed to harm, fully support decisions at the Commission. The commission has also highlighted its support to the Government’s planned review of the Gambling Act. They have already started to take into account the findings in recent National Audit Office reports into gambling regulations.

Affiliates have been introduced with a code of conduct

In a press release distributed this week, the regulator said that new online ad measures are expected to be introduced by July 2020. Below are some of the measures, designed to lower gambling exposure to vulnerable groups and children.

  • Rolling out to all affiliates a code of conduct which will be amended and updated on a regular basis to ensure all industry measures are equally implemented by affiliates;
  •  A common list of negative search terms (e.g. how do I self-exclude from gambling?) and suppression websites;
  • Using customer data to ensure that paid media is targeted away from vulnerable groups across all social media platforms;
  • Ensuring ads are only targeted at people aged 25+ in PPC advertising;
  • Age restrictions on YouTube channels, streaming and similar content.

Many affiliate representatives have initiated meetings with the Betting and Gaming Council about how an affiliate code of practice could be developed. This refers to the areas that it might cover, and how they can best contribute to the process. Their collaborative approach so far is to be encouraged, and we look forward to seeing how this partnership will evolve in the future.

Although some affiliates will have concerns about a code being imposed to them, it is crucial that this sector sees this as more of an opportunity than a threat. What cannot be left in doubt is that all parts of the gambling industry need to work more in order to create a safe gambling environment. It is vital that affiliates also play their part with a proactive approach plan.