UK Gambling Commission Pushes Operators to Shape Up with New Enforcement Policy

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has upped its game and that means operators need to move accordingly or face losing their licences.

UKGC enforcement policy.

Operators face even tougher sanctions following a new enforcement policy from the UKGC. (Image: lawenforcementcareerstips.com)

Since taking control of the UK’s online betting industry, the UKGC has sought to establish itself as the best regulatory body in the world. The latest layer of gloss to be added to its gold standard licencing regime is a new enforcement strategy.

A More Balanced System

Outlined in a July 5 press release and coming into force the same day, the new policy is designed to tackle operators that breach gambling regulations. Following a three month consultation that discussed ways to put “the customer first,” the UKGC is set out the following commitments:

Operators that breach the UKGC’s licensing conditions will face increased penalties, especially in instances of “systematic and repeated failings.”

A more balanced regulatory review process that will remove the bias towards settlements and enforce a variety of fair sanctions based on the nature of the breach.

Time-limited discounts that will offer more incentives for operators to agree early settlements and dispute resolutions.

UKGC Proving It’s the Best Around

In 2017 alone, the UKGC has taken strong action against a number of high profile operators. Back in May, BGO Entertainment was fined £300,000 for consistent failures regarding its online adverts both on its own sites and through third-party affiliates.

BGO’s fine was the largest one issued by the UKGC for advertising infringements but it was a fraction of the £800,000 penalty Betfred was forced to pay in 2016. Following a review of the operator’s anti-money laundering and social responsibilities, the UKGC took action after Betfred failed to prevent a customer placing bets with stolen money.

Although these stories may have caused some short-term damage to the brands involved, the action has contributed to the greater good of the industry.

Indeed, listed in the UKGC’s list of licensing objectives is the desire to make gambling fair and open. Moreover, the UKGC wants to stop the industry being used for crime or as something harmful for vulnerable people.

With online gaming now the largest revenue generator in the UK gambling industry (£4.5 billion/32 percent of the industry’s £13.8 billion in revenue), the Commission clearly has a valuable asset on its hands. In fact, new enforcement policies will not only help the UKGC ensure its domestic affairs are in order, but set the standard for regulated markets around the world.

Regulators in New Jersey have long had a working relationship with the UKGC, which may mean other US states may soon want to use the expertise of what’s quickly becoming the top regulator in the industry.

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