OCUK News Centre

Lord Kirkhope Pushes for a Complete Ban on Gambling Adverts

A complete ban on gambling adverts may be the only way to protect the vulnerable according to Lord Kirkhope of Harrogate.

Lord Kirkhope of Harrogate gambling adverts
Lord Kirkhope of Harrogate believes a complete ban on gambling adverts may be necessary. (Image: Twitter/@LordKirkhope)

Raising the question during a House of Lords meeting on January 16, Lord Timothy Kirkhope called for clarity on the government’s plan to curb all forms of gambling advertising.

As the Conservative Minister responsible for gambling during the 1990s, Lord Kirkhope was behind a move to block gambling ads on TV. Highlighting this, he made it clear to the House that changes made … Read more

Transatlantic Shockwaves as Wire Act Opinion Shakes UK Betting Shares

Legal uncertainty in the US has caused the share price of UK operators to fall as experts suggest the Wire Act could now apply to all forms of online betting and gaming.

Following pressure to review its 2011 interpretation of the Wire Act, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has performed a 180 on the legal document. Having previously ruled the Wire Act only applies to cross-state wire communications for sports betting, the latest opinion is that was incorrect.

Poorly Written Wire Act Leads to Legal Uncertainty

In a notice published on January 14, the DOJ stated that the Wire … Read more

GamStop Ineffective at Preventing Problem Gambling Says BBC Report

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is set to implement new ID verification checks following an undercover report by the BBC exposing GamStop’s self-exclusion failures.

Revealed during an episode of 5 Live Investigates on January 13, the independent review of responsible gambling schemes found that current protection measures are falling short.

GamStop Doesn’t Stop Excluded Punters

Testing the current systems, BBC Radio 5 Live researchers found they were able to join online gaming sites despite being part of GamStop’s self-exclusion program.

When the software was rolled out in April 2018, it offered a one-stop-shop for those wanting to block themselves from … Read more

Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to invest money in specialist clinics designed to treat problem gambling more effectively and further improve gaming conditions for UK consumers.

Announced as part of the government’s 10-year plan for the NHS, the clinics will treat those deemed to have serious gambling problems. Although those with issues can currently seek help through the national clinic, data suggests that almost two million people are at risk across the country.

Clinics to Help 400,000+ Consumers

Of those at risk, the NHS Long Term Plan states that 400,000 are problem gamblers. To target those already affected, rather … Read more

Rough Start to New Year for Playtech Following £25 Million Tax Bill

Gaming developer Playtech has started 2019 on the wrong foot following tax issues in two separate countries.

In an announcement made on January 2, the software provider for UK brands such as Bet365, Betfair and Paddy Power said it will pay the Israeli Tax Authority €28 million/£25 million. The unexpected bill is the result of a civil tax audit on Playtech’s activities in Israel between 2008 and 2017.

Hands Out After Arm’s Length Calculation

The decision to hit Playtech with an additional charge is due to transfer pricing adjustments. As it is in the UK, tax authorities have the right … Read more

UK Gaming Scandals in 2018: Stabbing, Gabbing, Cheating, and Stealing

From a stabbing outside one of London’s leading casinos to poker cheats and some unlawful online practices, 2018 has been yet another year of controversy for the UK gaming industry.

Knifed at Casino

In July, the country was rocked by another knife attack. With Londoners on high alert after a spate of similar incidents across the capital, tragedy struck outside of Leicester Square’s Empire Casino.

Although information on the attack was lacking at the time, it later emerged that the victim, David Downes, worked for the casino. Why he was attacked was unclear, but reports linked it to a wave … Read more

The fixed-odds betting terminal (FOBTs) debate turned from talk into direct action in 2018, following a long-running battle between both sides of the gaming divide.

FOBTs dominated the regulatory narrative as the new year dawned. With anti-gaming advocates calling for a complete ban on the high street betting terminals, Playtech chief executive Mor Weizer gave his take on the situation.

Despite Playtech itself being online-focused, Weizer said that drastic changes would simply move the goal posts.

I believe that if FOBTs would be impacted, self-service betting terminals (SSBTs), a similar machine for sporting results, would enjoy additional benefits,” Weizer

Read more

Regulatory Drama in 2018: UKGC and ASA Both Get Tough on British Gaming

It was another year of regulatory ructions in 2018 within the UK gaming industry, leading to some heavy fines for the country’s leading operators.

With the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) taking an aggressive stance on infractions of all types, even the biggest brands in the country have been forced to clean up their acts this year. However, despite repeated calls to offer safer and more responsible products, there were some that simply didn’t cut the mustard.

UKGC Hits Hard and Fast

Setting the tone in January, the UKGC put 17 casinos on alert. Prior to her departure, former UKGC … Read more

Ladbrokes Coral owner GVC Holdings will usher in 2019 with a new set of responsible gaming strategies following a recent partnership with EPIC Risk Management.

Making the announcement on December 19, GVC has entered into a multi-year agreement with the intention of training Group employees in three key areas:

Strategic advice, including how to best interact with customers showing signs of problem gambling.

Hosting workshops for high-risk populations as well as charitable organisations.

Delivery of face-to-face gambling awareness programmes to 12,000 children across 100 UK state schools.

GVC Raising Standards for All

Commenting on the partnership, GVC’s Director of Responsible … Read more

Barclays Promotes Responsible Gambling with Merchant Control Feature

Barclays bank has launched a new type of responsible gambling feature that will allow customers to manage their spending habits by restricting deposits to online gaming sites.

Currently applicable to debit card transactions, the new switch off feature is called merchant control and is available in the latest version of the Barclays mobile app. Although the update isn’t designed to target the gaming industry specifically, online and offline transactions to betting operators are named among the list of controllable industries.

Barclays Merchant Control will cover the following  areas:

Gambling

Premium-rate websites and phonelines

Restaurants, food outlets, pubs and bars

Petrol … Read more