UKGC Continues Push to Protect Players with New Safety Proposals

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has published a new set of proposals to make the largest regulated iGaming market in the world a safer place to play.

Tracey Crouch

Minister for Sport and Civil Society Tracey Crouch supports the UKGC’s new safety proposals. (YouTube/The Football Foundation)

In a note published by the gambling regulator on March 26, UKGC Chief Executive Neil McArthur said that now was the time to ensure Britain remains a global leader in the online betting sector.

“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,” McArthur wrote in an official UKGC press release.

Five Changes on the Horizon

In practice, the UKGC has set out five proposed changes to the way it regulates online betting sites in the UK. At the top of the agenda are new guidelines that would protect children from accessing casino games.

At present, many UK operators allow people to play demo casino games for free without creating an account. By not asking visitors to make an account, the operator has no way of determining the age of players.

To counter this, UKGC insiders want to implement a rule that would stop operators from offering the free-to-play games until age verification checks have been carried out.

Additionally, new UKGC rules could force operators to carryout faster, more accurate identity checks.

As well as pushing for better age verification, the enhanced ID checks would also take into account a customer’s “affordability” rating. Instances of players betting with illicit funds or bypassing self-exclusion blocks have caused a number of major operators to receive fines in recent months.

888 was the hardest hit in August 2017 when an investigation by the UKGC found that a technical glitch had allowed more than 7,000 self-excluded players to ante-up on its network.

For this and additional failures with regards to protecting vulnerable players, 888 was fined £7.8 million.

Operators Need to Connect with Customers

The final proposals outlined in the recent UKGC press release relates to advertising and consumer interaction. In the first instance, the UKGC wants operators to make their adverts and promotions less complex and more easily understood.

Beyond this, any new regulations could require operators to increase the amount of interaction they have with customers, particularly those identified as being at risk of developing a gambling problem.

For now, the proposals aren’t legally binding. However, the UKGC will be carrying out a review to determine how best to make the industry safer for consumers, something which has the backing of the government.

“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,” the Minister for Sport and Civil Society, Tracey Crouch, noted in the UKGC’s press release. 

Share Now: