OCUK News Centre

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

Political Pressure Could Ban Betting Ads During Sporting Events

A whistle-to-whistle ban on betting adverts could be on the cards but the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) has stressed that it’s far from a done deal.

According to a report by the BBC, a new RGA proposal will see its members agree to not show adverts during live sporting events.

As per the December 6 article, the ban would exclude horse racing broadcasts but include all other sports. Additionally, the ban will prevent betting ads being shown during events that start before but end after the 9pm watershed.

Political Pressure Challenges Operators

In response to the BBC report, the RGA … Read more

GVC Holdings boss Kenneth Alexander has been caught in another pay row after the Investment Association (IA) warned 32 FTSE companies about potential shareholder revolts.

The trade body representing UK investment managers named Alexander as part of a 15-strong list of company chairman receiving so-called fat-cat pay cheques. At the heart of the recent warning from the IA is the GVC boss’s £18.4 million salary.

Pay Cut Doesn’t Cut It

Despite being £1.4 million less than he took home in 2016, the IA has said that Alexander and others on its list are ignoring the concerns of shareholders.

“While many

Read more

UK Gaming and Betting Brands Spend £1.1 Billion on Online Advertising

UK gaming and betting companies now spend the majority of their marketing budgets in the online world according to a recent report by Regulus Partners.

Outlined in the Gambling Advertising and Marketing Spend in Great Britain 2014-17 report, operators spent £747 million on online adverts in 2017. As well as being almost 50 percent more than 2014’s £400 million total, the latest figure is £513 million more than the industry’s TV advertising expenditure.

Billion Pound Budgets

Breaking down the statistics, betting, casino, bingo and poker operators are responsible for the bulk of the industry’s online spending. Compared to the lottery’s … Read more

MPs Line Up to Vote Down Philip Hammond’s FOBT Changes

Fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) are threatening to split the government as Tory members line up to vote against Philip Hammond’s recent budget announcement.

In the wake of Tracey Crouch resigning as Minister for Sport and Civil Society, Westminster insiders have said that there are more than 20 MPs ready to take action against FOBTs.

As part of the parliamentary process, Hammond’s 2019 budget will have to pass a vote before the new levies, rates and taxes come into effect.

According to political publication The Spectator, Conservative MPs, including Jacob Rees-Mogg, have signed a Commons amendment calling for the FOBT … Read more

Scout Gaming to Diversify UK Gaming with Daily Fantasy Sports Licence

Scout Gaming has been granted a B2B licence by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), a move that will give British punters access to more fantasy sports (DFS) sites in the coming months.

Announced on November 6, the approval goes alongside the gaming operator’s existing B2C licence and will dramatically increase its footprint within another regulated market. In real terms, Scout Gaming can offer its DFS services across its 12 partners, including those already active in the UK.

DFS Demographics are Different

Commenting on the news, Scout Gaming CEO Andreas Ternström said the deal was not only a positive for his … Read more

LeoVegas Sees Third-Quarter Growth but CEO Wants More

LeoVegas is on course to meet its two-year financial targets despite recent regulatory unrest within the UK and European gaming industry.

Publishing its latest quarterly report on November 7, LeoVegas noted a revenue increase of 41 percent to £68.6 million. Delving further into the data for the period between July 1 and September 30, net gaming revenue from regulated markets now stands at 35.5 percent, while organic growth improved by 14 percent.

UK Opens Up New Potential

The number of depositing customers also grew year-on-year from 202,890 to 318,189. The growth was fuelled, in part, by an increased presence in … Read more

William Hill Issues Profit Warning As Hammond’s Budget Bites

William Hill has issued a profit warning following Philip Hammond’s recent budget announcement which outlined the fate of fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) and tax rates.

With the Chancellor’s budget plans causing a political stir, William Hill’s chief executive Philip Bowcock has said tougher operating conditions will affect the company’s bottom-line.

“Retail continues to be challenged by the wider high street conditions and we have seen gaming as well as sportsbook revenues decline in the period,” Bowcock said in a November 6 trading update.

Budget Spooks Investors

In projecting its full year earnings, William Hill issued a revised forecast of … Read more