UKGC To Implement Additional Rules and Regulations

Kosta Kostadinov | Published 14 Apr 2022, 10:42 a.m.

The gambling climate in the UK has been quite tense for authorities lately, as there have been increasing concerns regarding gambling harm and the safety of punters in general. The UK Gambling Commission has been incredibly invested in these issues and has a hands-on approach, implementing additional regulations that would resolve the situation.

We have already informed you about the credit card ban and the Commission’s interim report about its effects, as well as the attempts to implement the highly debated “affordability checks”. Now it seems that the UKGC has decided that additional regulations are necessary in order to create a safer and more monitored gambling climate.

Several new rules for operators

One of the main new rules that operators are expected to adhere to is the monitoring of a much wider range of indicators. These include the amount that a player has spent, their spending patterns, the time they spend on gambling, and other account indicators, in addition to the already-existing monitoring aspects. Also, indicators of harm will have to be flagged and dealt with as soon as possible.

Another set of regulations that will be implemented is aimed at the marketing aspect. Namely, once a player has been flagged for being at risk, marketing has to be limited for that specific player, especially bonus offers. 

On top of that, customer communication will be an important part of this evaluation. On request, operators will need to present evidence of their interaction and communication with players, which will prove that they are making sure to prevent any at-risk players from falling into debt or other gambling-related harm.

UKGC is not satisfied with operators’ efforts

After numerous failings by operators and several heavy fines, the Commission has decided to launch a consultation regarding possible steps to be taken. Once that consultation was completed, it was agreed upon these new regulations, which are of course aimed to lower the customers’ risk, particularly those who are deemed problem gamblers.

According to Andrew Rhodes, the chief executive of the UKGC, “Time and time again our enforcement cases show that some operators are still not doing enough to prevent gambling harm. These new rules, developed following an extensive consultation, make our expectations even more explicit. We expect operators to identify and tackle gambling harms with fast, proportionate and effective action and we will not hesitate to take tough action on operators who fail to do so.”

These new rules are expected to be implemented sometime in September of 2022. In June, operators will be given detailed guidance, which will give them enough time to change their policies and adapt.

The Dutch market enforces safety rules

In similar news, the newly regulated Dutch market takes great care to remain as safe as possible and to prevent any gambling-related harm. One of the policies forbids the autoplay option for slot games, in order to prevent unwanted gambling addiction.

After Kansspelautoriteit, the Dutch gambling authority, found that one of the operators allowed the activation and use of this feature, it was forced to disable it. Otherwise, it could have faced heavy fines or up to €300,000. 

The regulator has stated, “A player must make a conscious choice for each subsequent game to continue playing. From the point of view of consumer protection and the risk of (the development of) gambling addiction, forms of automatic play (autoplay) at online gambling machines are prohibited. In this form of play, the player no longer consciously chooses the next game and loses control.”

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