The UK Gambling Commission is to introduce regulations that will make online gambling safer than ever before. The proposals will give children better protection and decrease the risks for vulnerable consumers.
On Monday, the UK Gambling Commission announced new plans to create a safer environment for the nation’s online gamblers. Proposals being drawn up will provide greater protection for children and reduce the risks to vulnerable consumers. The Commission will also strengthen measures already in force by recommending earlier intervention to keep vulnerable consumers from causing themselves harm.
Statistics provided by the Gambling Commission show that industry profits from the online gambling sector have increased by 10% to £4.7bn ($6.69bn) within the last year alone. Participation by the public continues to increase, from 15.5% in 2014 to just over 18% in 2017. The Gambling Commission estimates that as many as nine million people in Britain log online to enjoy gambling.
In a statement on the new proposals, the chief executive of the Gambling Commission, Neil McArthur, said: “Britain has the largest regulated online gambling market in the world, and we are continually looking for ways to make it ever fairer and safer for consumers.
“The proposals we have announced today are intended to protect children better, reduce the risks to vulnerable consumers and build on the measures we already impose on operators to know their customers and intervene at an earlier stage before consumers experience harm.”
Proposed changes and action
The Gambling Commission has covered several areas in its proposals to provide a safer environment for iGaming. To further protect children, the GC will seek to ban operators from providing free-to-play demo games until the age of a consumer has been established. The commission also wants to speed up the age-verification process and make it more effective.
Limits will also be set on the amount consumers are allowed to spend before they have completed an affordability check.
The Gambling Commission plans to take on unacceptable marketing and advertising practices within the industry, including unfair terms. Complaints and dispute procedures will also be overhauled.
The Gambling Commission will work to strengthen requirements for consumer interaction for problem gamblers or those at risk of developing a gambling problem.
Further work this year
In the Gambling Commission review, additional areas of online gambling safety were identified for further work in 2018. The Commission plans to review the effectiveness of tools currently available for consumers to self-manage their gambling. In addition, it will review the characteristics of gambling products to identify whether or not certain features have a greater risk of harm to gamblers than others.
Customer funds protection requirements are to be reviewed with consideration given to whether current measures are sufficient for dormant accounts. The GC will be considering gambling credit – whether it should be retained or changed. Consideration will also be given to whether or not the Gambling Commission should make it easier for consumers to withdraw their funds.
Commenting on the new proposals, the Minister for Sport and Civil Society, Tracey Crouch said: “We are committed to ensuring the gambling industry is safe and sustainable. These proposals for additional regulations will strengthen the controls already in place and further safeguard children and vulnerable people from the risks of online gambling.”